I heard a fascinating podcast the other day, where Dan Pink was interviewing Paul Tough about his recent work on character development in children. When they described the trait of “Grit”, this set me thinking about my own philosophy on the topic.
They define Grit as a combination of persistence and passion. In my mind, the passion gives you a REASON for being persistent, so the two certainly work together.
What I find fascinating about this is that you can choose your own behaviors on these dimensions.
We’ve been telling our children for the last few decades to “follow their passion,” which has often left them disoriented – especially when they’re trying to find great jobs or plan their careers. It’s hard to identify a passion which relates that closely to getting an immediate job.
But when I coach clients, I always find things that they’re passionate about. Not necessarily their jobs, mind you.
A surface-level passion is just something that you enjoy: chocolate, or a day on the beach, or playing video games. That’s fine, but it doesn’t sustain you very long. And it’s not going to take much persistence for me to continue enjoying chocolate.
When you start digging deeper, though, we see how the two concepts work together. I’ve found that I have a deep passion for learning and personal growth. In fact, I can see how I’ve been following this direction for most of my life. Building my business is hard, hard work, but I’ve been able to sustain that partially because I realize that I’m learning a whole lot.
Notice the crucial reference to my own realization. Building a business is hard work, and I’m making a conscious choice to connect that to my opportunities to learn.
And when I do that, I find that I’m much more persistent to get through the hard times.
Here’s what I’ll ask you, then: When you’ve discovered an area of passion for yourself, what are you doing to consciously connect it to what you’re actually doing?
You may just find that this helps build your focus, energy, and persistence!