Do you have The “Grit” Factor?

I never pre-ordered a book. Until today.

gritI read a Q&A with one of the authors, advertising executive Linda Kaplan Thaler, and couldn’t help myself.

I’ll let her sell it:

My new book talks about the common perception that you have to be incredibly talented or brilliant to make it. Research has shown that virtually all successful people were all normal growing up. They didn’t have the “it” factor, but they did have the grit factor. …Many make the assumption that you have to have brilliant creative juices. It helps, but it’s not everything. Very few make it to the top. The ones who do have sweat equity.

The idea that dedication and perseverance influence success more than pure talent isn’t exactly new, but it’s nice when a woman who built a billion-dollar business confirms it.

That and I just like the way she said it. The “grit factor.” That’s awesome, It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: “The world doesn’t run on smart.”

Never heard that one before? Of course you haven’t. I made it up.*

To make a long story short, it’s what I told my (then) boyfriend when he was certain he was going to get a job offer for a programming position because he was “pretty much the smartest person there.”

It was adorable.

“The world doesn’t run on smart,” I laughed. “It runs on average.”

recite-1gvd1x6It’s sad, but true. Anyone who’s worked in an office in the past ten years would probably agree: being smart won’t get you very far. Simply being pleasant and productive often does.

If you happen to be all three – well, congratulations. You’re on your way to the top.

Unfortunately for my boyfriend, he didn’t end up getting the job. He botched the fourth problem on a programming test and they decided to pursue other candidates. That should be enough question his intellect, but just in case it’s not, know that earlier in the week, he tried to mail a postcard without a stamp and claimed to not know how to use a Q-Tip.

In other words, he had a tough couple of days. So I fought the urge to ask him – as the smartest person in the world, of course – how it felt to finally have clean ears.

In hindsight, I sort of wish I did. That relationship didn’t work out anyway and I would have liked to have a moment of vindication. But instead, I’ll have to settle for this: if he has “it,” then I’m glad I have “grit.”

I’ll take “grit” over “it” any day. And after reading that book, I hope I’m a little closer to “great.”


*Unless you read this guest post that I wrote for Cision. Then you probably heard it all before. 


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