Archive for grit

When Disaster Strikes

Look around you. What do you see? Hurricanes, fires, mass shootings, political shenanigans, incivility, disrespect, abuse and fear? The list goes on.

What are you doing about it? There’s so much … where can you start? Some of us are volunteering to help disaster victims. Others are supporting relief efforts financially. Many have posted #metoo on their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

This is a time in which a good dollop of resilience can make a difference in how you are dealing with the melee. A time when grit is good. When optimism can help both you and those around you.

To inspire my own optimism, I pulled out a blog post from last August in which I quoted Christian D. Larson’s “Creed for Optimists,” written in 1912.

Here it is again.

Promise yourself to:

  1. Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  2. Talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  3. Make all your friends feel there is something special in them.
  4. Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best.
  5. Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  6. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  7. Give everyone a smile.
  8. Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.
  9. Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
  10. Think well of yourself and proclaim this fact to the world—not in loud words—but in great deeds.
  11. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

While this may seem frivolous in light of all that is happening, what would be possible if you were to incorporate just one or two of these points into your daily life? Would positivity spread? I’m not suggesting you give up on any other efforts to help with the negatives—just try adding one or two of these positives.

I’ll do the same.

True Grit: The Secret to Long-Term Success

What’s the strongest predictor of success in school, on the field or in your career—IQ, EQ, socioeconomic background, leadership skills or talent? Actually, it’s none of those. It’s grit.

From spelling bee finalists to Westpoint cadets, athletes to rookie teachers, scholars to salespeople, MacArthur fellow and University of Pennsylvania Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth found two consistent predictors of achievement: grit and self-control.

Duckworth discusses the pioneering research on grit she and her colleagues have been conducting at the Duckworth Lab in the following TED talk.

What Seventh-Graders Taught Duckworth

Having left a lucrative job in management consulting to teach seventh-grade math, Duckworth started noticing something funny. The students with the sharpest IQs were sometimes the lowest achievers, and those with poorer IQ scores sometimes outshone their more talented peers.

None of the typically assumed factors for success accounted for the patterns she was seeing. What did those who excelled have in common?

After five years of teaching, Duckworth got a PhD in psychology to find out. She shares these discoveries in her forthcoming book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Already the #1 bestseller in Educational Certification & Development at Amazon, the book explores why focused persistence gets us further than raw ability.

It’s Not How You Succeed—It’s How You Fail

Those who glide through life don’t get a chance to develop the stamina and chutzpah that help them overcome obstacles when they do arise. Grit is not about skating by but rather about doggedly bouncing back every time you stumble.

Authentic Happiness author and positive psychology luminary Martin Seligman is part of the team heading up the Growth Initiative, which focuses on the subject of growth through adversity.

Seligman and his colleagues are interested in identifying how and why some people thrive following tragedy while others wither. Their goal is “to better understand the conditions under which people can experience positive behavioral changes after going through highly stressful adverse events.”

Japan: A Case Study in Post-Traumatic Growth

Just as a scar thickens the skin, trauma can build the resilience necessary to weather future calamities.

A case study in post-traumatic growth, the nation of Japan flourished following the physical and psychological devastation wrought by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

Written following the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor crisis, this New York Times article argues that it is Japan’s very history with trauma that would enable it to heal from the latest onslaught.

In the article, authors Peter Fretwell and Taylor Baldwin Kiland outline the five necessary conditions to cultivate in the face of mass trauma:

  1. a sense of safety;
  2. calm;
  3. a sense of self and community efficacy;
  4. connectedness; and
  5. hope.

We can carry those lessons over into our individual lives as we learn to cope with—and grow through—adversity.

An Undercover FBI Agent Shares Her Secrets

Former FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent LaRae Quy shares these five tips for building the confidence needed to succeed in a recent article:

  1. Don’t fear failure. Taking risks, challenging yourself and making mistakes gives us an opportunity to learn—and grow. In other words, it’s what Homer Simpson calls a “crisitunity.”
  2. Value feedback. Quy cites recent Leadership IQ research indicating that lack of coachability accounted for 26 percent of failed new hires. Those who seek out and embrace constructive feedback are more likely to evolve.
  3. Practice. It gets you to Carnegie Hall for a reason—the more familiar you are with a task, the more effortlessly you will be able to execute it. You will also recover from a misstep with more grace.
  4. “Only connect.” Having the support and mutual respect of colleagues will bolster your confidence and strengthen your sense of community.
  5. Build grit. We’ve already learned the value of grit from Duckworth. There is no pearl without the sand.

How Much Grit Have You Got?

Find out by completing the Grit Survey available at Authentic Happiness. Registration is free, and you’ll gain access to tons of goodies.

How have encounters with adversity led to your growth? Are you ready to up your game?

Chris Cook can help you develop the necessary grit to achieve your goals. Call 541.601.0114 or email Chris today.

What Does it Take for an Entrepreneur to Turn a Good Idea into Reality?


It takes grit for sure. You know, that combination of passion and perseverance. It also takes the ability to recognize change and see the opportunity that change brings. Think about the music industry. The Internet completely blew the doors off traditional distribution channels and made way for iTunes, emusic, and other music download services. That’s just one example.

Launching a business or product in a “lean” fashion saves time and money, and mitigates some risk. When it comes to the topic of “launching lean,” I like to refer people to Eric Ries’ lean methodologies. In a nutshell, it’s build, measure, learn—a continuous cycle that allows your business or product to evolve and become more and more relevant to your customers.

While we may think that entrepreneurs have to think completely differently than regular business folk, one message resonates loud and clear for anyone and everyone in business—it’s all about your target audiences. And you have more than one target audience. It’s not just your customers. You also have other audiences that are critical: perhaps you have investors, bankers, angels or venture capitalists. You may have distributors, others in your supply chain, strategic partners. Whatever the target audiences are, it’s critical that your communication be tailored to their needs and that you meet them where they are (i.e., tradeshows, social media, traditional media, professional and trade organizations).

While all this may seem daunting, there’s good news for entrepreneurs in Southern Oregon. Organizations around Oregon have banded together to help new businesses/entrepreneurs in Southern Oregon get going and find success—and I’m excited to be a part!

Tuesday night was another great learning experience at “Jefferson University,” where I’m a part of a team of mentors and coaches to a group of entrepreneurs. Jefferson U is a collaboration between the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Sustainable Valley Technology Group, the Oregon Entrepreneurs’ Network, The Oregon Community Foundation and the Jefferson Grapevine (Entrepreneurial & Angel Network)—led by Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI).

Jefferson University was kicked off by the executive director of Oregon Technology Business Center May 5. This week, we heard from an expert on developing financial projections, getting funding and designing exit strategies. During several sessions, I delivered the low down about marketing. Other experts talked about getting the right team together and creating a culture that supports success. A patent and trademark attorney spoke about intellectual property and creating a competitive advantage. We’ve also heard from successful business people about their experiences at the Motorcycle Superstore and Darex.

Our entrepreneurs are learning so much—as are the mentors. This Saturday, we have a pitch clinic where the entrepreneurs practice their pitch to investors. On June 8, the teams will present to investors, bankers, community leaders, and other business people. The feedback they receive will play an important part in their lean launch.

It’s a great process to be involved in and to help make a difference in the local economy as we help new start-ups become real, solid businesses.

If you have a business idea or are thinking about expanding your current business, please reach out to me. I can either provide direct advice or point you to a resource that’s appropriate to your need. My areas of knowledge are in marketing, leadership development and creating successful cultures. I look forward to talking with you! Reach me at 541-601-0114 or chris@capiche.us.