I was editing a column for one of DWM’s sister publications about how you can’t teach passion. It immediately made me think of a presentation I heard in August on grit by Angela Duckworth, who penned the best seller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

While the column I read says you can’t teach passion, the good news is you can teach grit (learn more at angeladuckworth.com if you are interested). Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, defines grit as sustained passion and performance, particularly in the pursuit of long-term goals.

“Grit is the thing high performers have in common,” says Duckworth. You likely possess grit if you answer yes to the following:

  1. I am a very hard worker.
  2. I finish whatever I begin.

Duckworth says a better explanation may come from what grit is not. “Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something,” she says.

“Instead, grit is about having what some researchers call an ‘ultimate concern’–a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow.”

She adds that talent and luck matter to success. But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit. And in the very long run, she says grit may matter as least as much, if not more.

If you employ millennials, Duckworth says, in general, this age group is the lowest in passion and perseverance. If you notice this with some of your employees, here is hope: “With age and experience, strengths like grit get better,” Duckworth says.

Duckworth also laid out the following equations:

  • Talent x effort = skill
  • Skill x effort = achievement

“Of course talent counts, but effort counts twice,” she says.

Who better to talk about grit with than members of the door and window community? Some of our readers are small to medium business owners who started their companies and persevered through difficulties. That takes grit.

Some built businesses only to see another window or door dealer set up shop across the street. Succeeding in that situation takes grit.

Many are installers learning the trade and spending hours every day training and perfecting techniques. That takes grit.

Many are top window and door dealers building their businesses one job at a time. That takes grit.

I bet if I gave many of you the grit test, you would join me on the high end of the grit scale. As always, e-mail me your thoughts or post a comment here

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