Paul Tough has a great book on grit coming out that Emmy Liss (from McKinsey #VFAbootcamp) and I discussed earlier last week.
“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure. And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.”
In the same vein, there’s a great article by William Deresiewicz on The Disadvantages of an Elite Education.
I’ve been interested in the topic of grit ever since I saw Paul Tough speak at Georgetown a couple years ago. A reason why I wanted to go into education but it continues to be relevant as I reflect on the implications it has on my character.
As an entrepreneur, will I have enough grit to succeed?
My track record seems to indicate otherwise. I’ve never really failed. I was always in magnet/honors/AP/other high-level academic environments and failed to fail. Did I stumble, slow down, lose traction, disappoint myself, and struggle to get up? Sure. But what were the stumbling blocks, barriers, and disappointments that caused me to falter? Were they significantly difficult or more appropriately, did they seem difficult?
From what I can tell, I am my biggest obstacle. So, am I now going to immerse myself in bad situations just to say that I’ve struggled? Probably not, but I need to take myself out of environments where people assume I’ll succeed or won’t allow me to fail. I need to only rely on myself and persist through my own strength without the support of others.