Grit Is Good; Hot Topic; But Too Much Grit?

It seems that the topic of “Grit” is everywhere all of a sudden. I wrote about it yesterday, and it was the topic of a great Freakonomics Podcast this morning: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/grit/

The author of “Grit” defines it as passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals. She also talks about how people with “grit” must have a true interest in their field, but that interests can be cultivated with hard work.

You see grit featured everywhere in pop culture nowadays, especially with athletes and entertainers, e.g. Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, or Will Smith (from yesterday’s blog).

But, what we don’t hear about is “too much grit” even though I see it often. Many people keep their nose to the grindstone with such focus that they lose sight of other important things, and do not achieve the success they want.

I see three risks from too much grit: (1) forgetting to cultivate necessary relationships; (2) losing creativity; and (3) failing health.

We read about students in Asia who study non-stop to achieve perfect scores, but they lose all of their creativity and thus do not do as well in the workplace as might be expected.

And, I personally know many attorneys and other professionals who work six days a week with relentless drive, but who never seem to get ahead b/c they do not make time to cultivate healthy relationships in either their business or personal lives.

Grit is good, and it seems to work for athletes. But, for business people and professionals with a lot of discipline, grit needs balance. As a former “grit-aholic,” I write from experience.

Jay Voorhees
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