7 Angela Duckworth Quotes to Help Grow Your Grit

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Grit" by Angela Duckworth. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for motivational Angela Duckworth quotes? What are the best quotes from her book Grit?

These Angela Duckworth quotes come from her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. These quotes discuss the core principles of what it means to have grit.

Check out these motivational Angela Duckworth quotes.

Angela Duckworth Quotes

These Angela Duckworth quotes are from the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. You can use these Grit book quotes to inspire you to have more grit and explore key themes of the book.

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

The first of the Angela Duckworth quotes talks about effort and endurance. Grit is the combination of passion and perseverance.

  • Passion is the consistency of goals held over long periods of time. It is NOT intensity or enthusiasm held for a brief moment. It is endurance.
  • Perseverance is the ability to overcome setbacks, put in hard work, and finish things you’ve started.

Grit predicts success, even when controlling for talent or IQ. That is, between two people of the same talent level, a grittier person will enjoy more success.

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

Even though grit is so important, as a culture, we collectively obsess so much over talent. This is one of the Angela Duckworth quotes that explains potential.

When surveyed directly, Americans are more likely to point to hard work as the key to success, rather than talent. But when asked indirectly, we tend to show a “naturalness bias” toward internal talent rather than persistence.

Obsessing over talent also implicitly sends the message that other factors like grit don’t matter as much as they really do. This can bias us against hard-working but less talented people who could end up achieving even more.

“I won’t just have a job; I’ll have a calling. I’ll challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.”

Here’s an illustrative story using one of the Grit book quotes. Three bricklayers are asked, “what are you doing?” 

  • The first says, “I am laying bricks.” 
  • The second says, “I am building a church.” 
  • The third says, “I am building the house of God.”

The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third has a calling.

Defined further, people who have jobs are interested only in the material benefits from work, and don’t receive other rewards from it. The work is not an end in itself. People who have careers have deeper personal investment and enjoy advancement within the organizational structure. 

People who have callings find their work inseparable from their life – the work is personally fulfilling.

“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”

Effort is important when it comes to grit. Here’s one of the Angela Duckworth quotes that explains. Here’s the central model on why effort matters so much:

  • talent x effort = skill
  • skill x effort = achievement

Talent equates to how quickly your skills improve when you apply effort.

Achievement is the result of using your skill and applying effort.

In other words, effort factors in twice – it increases talent, and then it increases the application of that talent to achieve,

“Yes, but the main thing is that greatness is doable. Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable.”

People often have trouble figuring out what they’re aiming for in life. This is where people lack passion – they don’t care about what they’re doing all that much, and thus they tend to change what they like often, without committing to something.

Once you understand your top-level goal, you can see that your low-level goals are merely in pursuit of the high-level goals

Furthermore, this lowers how defeated you feel after failure. If you fail on a low-level goal, another can take its place. Lots of low-level activities can drive you toward your top-level goal. You have a lot of routes to getting there.

“It isn’t suffering that leads to hopelessness. It’s suffering you think you can’t control.”

Grit depends on hope that you have the power to improve things. Hope sustains passion by giving optimism that one day you can achieve your goals, and thus they’re worth holding for long periods of time. Hope sustains perseverance by encouraging thinking about how to overcome setbacks, rather than just accepting them as permanent.

Addressing specific and temporary causes is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy. If you keep searching for solutions to your problems, you at least have a chance of solving them. If you stop looking, you have zero chance. 

These Grit quotes are about finding purpose and believing in yourself.

“At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves.”

Gritty people show a greater interest in purpose than non-gritty people. There are at least two large ways of achieving happiness: pleasure (self-centered enjoyment) and purpose (outward-benefiting). People of all grit levels show similar amounts of pleasure in their work, but grittier people tend to feel a greater sense of purpose.

It may seem that self-oriented and other-oriented motivations are on opposite sides of the spectrum, but research has found that they’re independent. You can have neither, and you can have both. You can at once want to be the most successful person, while at the same time helping others. People who have both self-oriented and other-oriented motives tend to be the most productive. 

7 Angela Duckworth Quotes to Help Grow Your Grit

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Angela Duckworth's "Grit" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Grit summary:

  • How your grit can predict your success
  • The 4 components that make up grit
  • Why focusing on talent means you overlook true potential

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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