The Difference Between Success And Failure Is GRIT

Why are some people able to succeed in their work, careers, and lives despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet others crumble at the slightest sign of adversity?  

Why do some organizations, whether in the private or public sector, thrive despite unprecedented competition, economic downturns, or worse, while others whither and die?  

The difference between success and failure is grit,” says Dr. Paul G. Stoltz in his new book, GRIT: The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed. 

Having spent thirty-five years studying human performance, Stoltz writes in his book, “I used to be convinced that grit was just one of those qualities on a long list of stuff that everyone knows you need to succeed. I could not have been more wrong. Grit isn’t a nice-to-have item on the get-the-most-out-of-life list. It’s the single most essential item on the list."

The good news is that grit is something that anyone can grow and improve at any stage of his or her life.

The four building blocks of GRIT are:

  • Growth
  • Resilience
  • Instinct
  • Tenacity
The four capacities of grit are:

  • Emotional: Your emotional capacity to commit and to remain strong, determined, engaged, and unwavering in pursuit of your goals.
  • Mental: Your mental capacity to focus intently, even struggle over long periods of time, in pursuit of your goals.
  • Physical: Your physical capacity to dig deep, suffer, endure, withstand pain, and persevere in pursuit of your goals.
  • Spiritual: Your spiritual capacity to suffer well, to maintain your faith and belief, to remain centered and clear, and to transcend any frustrations in pursuit of your goals.

Stoltz takes readers on an extraordinary journey, providing them with real, meaningful, and practical tools – supported by insightful anecdotes and personal stories – to help them live and become exemplars of what he calls Optimal GRIT. He describes the why’s, how’s, and benefits of GRIT and the science behind his work. 

He then provides readers (free to those who purchase the book) with access to an online tool called the GRIT Gauge. Readers who complete this five-minute survey receive a comprehensive report, including scores, descriptions, graphs, and tips, to help them understand where they are now, and what steps to take to move towards Optimal GRIT.  

By the time you finish reading the book you'll have the tools and advice you'll need to deal with what Stoltz calls all the "gnarly stuff” that life can serve up -- whether it's related to organizations, teams, society or relationships.


Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D.

Stoltz is Founding Director of both the Global Resilience Institute and GRIT Institute. He was selected as “One of the Top 10 Most Influential Global Thinkers” by HR Magazine, and “One of the 100 Most Influential Thinkers of Our Time,” by Executive Excellence.

Thanks to the book publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.


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