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The Secret Ingredient to an Exceptional Career

Angela Duckworth, a Harvard, Oxford and University of Pennsylvania educated professor studied the anatomy of a high-achiever and isolated components of their character that make them the high achieving individual they are.

So, what is that component?

Some people would have guessed that it is one of these traits:

  • Intelligence

  • Hard-work

  • Family background and connections

  • Luck

But Angela Duckworth's research suggests that none of the traits above correlate as well with high achievement as much as grit.

In other words, the most important ingredient to high achievement is hard work over sustained periods of time.

So how does this learning translate to people's careers?

Knowing what you want to become, what you want to do, and what you want to achieve in your life early on is crucial and can set you apart from the rest of the crowd.

A common question that we often get asked from our customers, especially from the younger population is this:

"Our world is dynamic and changing, why should we stick to one goal and not adjust?"

The answer is there needs to be an elegant balance between grittiness and adjustment, or if you were to throw out business lingos in the equation, agility. You need to be crystal clear on your long-term goal, but be agile and flexible on the means to reaching that goal.

Our favorite metaphor to use whenever we're talking to our customers is this:

Imagine you're driving a car. You need a destination when you're driving a car, without a destination you are simply wasting your time and your money on fuel.

Now along the way, if your navigation system recommends a shortcut for you to take, feel free to take it, you would be a fool to not adjust your route.

A common pitfall that we see in a lot of people's careers is aiming to go to 10-15 drastically different destinations in their lifetime, and end up reaching nowhere, spending their entire life in the road.

The way your drive your car is completely up to you, you can drive fast and reach your destination earlier, or you can drive slow, make pit stops to enjoy the view and a nice cup of coffee. The choice is up to you, but the most important thing is you need a destination to begin with.

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