Grit Alone Is Useless Without This 1 Remarkable Thing

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How can we define a path to freedom, success and fulfillment? What is the true secret to success?  Why do we find ourselves working so hard, yet feeling so unfulfilled?

Angela Duckwork thinks she has the answer.  Duckworth delivered one of the most popular TED talks ever. Over 8 million people have viewed the video.

She’s also the author of newly released book titled: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. 

In her TED talk she discussed her work with seventh grade school students. She noticed that there was one characteristic that would contribute to the success of her students. It didn’t have to do with IQ at all.

Those students who succeeded the most, were those students her were able to persevere.  Or as she described them, those who had “grit.” While her work is compelling she admits that there is a hole in her theory.

Unless grit is paired with passion, work becomes drudgery.

She’s quoted in New York Magazine’s Science of Us as saying “I think the misunderstanding — or, at least, one of them — is that it’s only the perseverance part that matters.”

Continuing “But I think that the passion piece is at least as important. I mean, if you are really, really tenacious and dogged about a goal that’s not meaningful to you, and not interesting to you — then that’s just drudgery. It’s not just determination — it’s having a direction that you care about.”

Typical of our sound bite culture, many want to include “grit” in every description of success.  It’s fascinating that Duckworth has been so grossly misunderstood.  She obviously understands that grit alone is essentially paddling with one oar in the water.

So how can we define a direction in our lives that will add meaning and purpose?  If you’re willing to work hard, have grit and tenacity. What steps can you take to find true fulfillment and define your passion?

Start small. You don’t have to start with your passion. Start with something small that you like. Something that you like will build into something you enjoy. Which will grow into something you love.

If you’re consistent and persist, you’ll get good. When you get good and you enjoy the work, now your in flow. When you’re in flow you’re generating momentum. When you’re generating momentum you’re changing the world.


This article was originally published in my column for

Hi, my name is Chris Dessi. I’m CEO of Silverback Social. I’m also author of the book Remarkable You: Build a Personal Brand and Take Charge of Your Career

If you’d like the first chapter of Remarkable You for free, just head here. 

“I’ve known Chris for a long time and adore his work ethic, standards and passion… I am sure if you are lucky enough to get to know him through this book you will agree.”

 Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO Vayner Media and NYT Bestselling author

“The definitive book on personal brand building that everyone is talking about. Two huge likeable thumbs up!” 

Dave Kerpen, NYT Bestselling Author of The Art of People

Here are my most popular articles from my column on INC Magazine. 


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