In Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, she examines why some people succeed and others fail, and why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. During this webinar, she discussed with us whether human behavior is constant or circumstantial, how behavior change really happens, the mindsets that help people succeed regardless of challenges, and what Angela learned from having a father who lived with Parkinson’s.
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Note: This isn’t a perfect transcript, but it’s close.
- As a teacher closely observing her students, Angela Duckworth became curious about why some students excelled while others struggled. After transitioning to the role of academic researcher on this topic, she came to the conclusion that success is not based solely on giftedness or innate talent but rather on the amount of “grit” a person has
- Grit, as Angela describes it, is “passion and perseverance over long periods of time”
- Parkinson’s is a marathon, not a race, so to live your best life with Parkinson’s, cultivating “grittiness” is essential
- If you are like many people, you may set a goal, feel inspired and motivated for a few weeks, and then give up because you’ve lost your motivation. When it comes to motivation and energy, grit is all about consistency, not intensity. So, how do you start to develop this consistency? Angela recommends the following techniques to “trick your mind” into becoming grittier:
- Keep track of “streaks” on a calendar (a consecutive number of days that you have achieved a goal without any breaks). Then, give yourself a certain number of “emergency reserve days” that you can use to keep your streak alive even if you don’t meet your goal on a small handful of days
- Start to say to yourself, “Just for today,” which psychologically can make a goal seem less intimidating because you’re focusing on the here and now rather than the larger picture
- Be kind to yourself and recognize that motivation and energy always fluctuate and that you will have better days and worse days. The trick to maintaining your grittiness is to acknowledge your bad days through an objective lens, rather than thinking negative things about yourself
- We frequently hear from Parkinson’s care partners who know their loved ones would feel better if they took certain actions but say they can’t motivate their person with Parkinson’s to do them. Angela encourages everyone to recognize that you cannot fully control another person’s motivation no matter what you say or do. There are, however, some techniques that may help, one of which is called “Externalizing the Resistance.” Learn more about this technique here
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