The #1 Predictor and Factor of Success

Angela Duckworth, the foremost researcher on grit, identifies grit as the #1 predictor and factor of success.

Angela Duckworth, the foremost researcher on grit, identifies grit as the #1 predictor and factor of success. It’s not talent, title, wealth, or appearance. It’s grit, the ability to work hard for a long time toward a goal, to persevere, overcome, and keep moving forward in the face of adversity, failure, rejection, and obstacles. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Along the way, a leader and team will face countless challenges and need grit to find a way forward. And this begs the question: if grit is so important and teams really need grit, what is it? And if grit drives us, what drives grit?

I believe grit is:

  1. Driven by love

If you don't love it, you'll never be great at it. If you don't love it, you won't work to overcome all the challenges to keep doing it. If you love what you do, you won't quit when the world says you should. You will continue to show up every day, do the work, and discover that success is created by the love you have inside you.

  1. Inspire by vision and purpose

If you have a vision for what you want and know why you want it, you will work hard and persevere to achieve it. Your vision and purpose are greater than your circumstances and challenges. When you know your why and know the way, you won't let obstacles get in the way.

  1. Fueled by optimism and belief

Research shows that when you believe in a brighter and better future you will continue to take the actions necessary to create it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you believe determines what you create. If you believe it’s possible, you will continue to work to make it happen. 

  1. Powered by faith and hope

There will be times when your failures and challenges bring you down. There will be moments when you want to give up. It's during these discouraging times that you need more than positive thinking. You need faith and hope to keep you going. Faith keeps you focused on possibilities instead of problems. Hope keeps you moving towards the future instead of living in the past. 

  1. Revived by resilience

When you get knocked down your resilience will help you get back up. We often picture resilience as a lone ranger, a lone wolf fighting to stay alive but research on resilience says it comes from having loving and supportive relationships and being part of a connected and committed team. So, when you face a setback, remember it’s the supportive team members in your life who are helpful in you bouncing back. 

  1. Kept alive by stubbornness

You just won't give up. When your dream is revived, your stubbornness keeps it alive. You won't let your circumstances define you. You are determined to define your circumstances. We often think being stubborn is a bad thing. But whenever I ask a successful person if they are competitive and stubborn, the answer is often yes!

  1. Includes some fear of failure and desire to prove yourself

The fear of failure I'm talking about is not a paralyzing kind of fear but a healthy dose of fear that causes you to work harder, practice, and prepare more. Combine this with a desire to prove to yourself that you have what it takes, you can do it, and you'll keep working to improve to reach your goal. All the great ones, no matter how much success they have, still have a healthy dose of fear of failure and a desire to prove themselves. It's what keeps you humble and keeps you working to be great. 

- Jon