Monday, November 18, 2013

Listen to Your Elders

I love social media. Gasp. Did I just say that? I did. At first, I was wary, but good things can happen because of people who know how to use social media in the right way. Of course, bad things can happen, too, but I've turned into a half-full sort of person, and I'd like to stay here. So Pffft.

While I'm not that into different forms of social media, you know that I at least have a Facebook and Twitter account, both of which I check regularly. And though I'm often behind the times, i.e. True Facts by Ze Frank (argh, there I go again, laughing), I eventually do get to see what everyone else who is plugged in all day see.

So this morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I opened up Facebook and saw a post by an elementary school friend of a TED talk. If you've never seen one of these, you should. They. Are. Phenomenal. This one in particular showed a video of Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist who researched what makes people successful and found that the answer is grit.

Grit. The stuff that you put between tiles? No, that's grout. Grit. It's hard work, perseverance, the ability to commit to something and see the whole project through. The video is worth watching, really, because I find some people subscribe to the theories that money, or nepotism, or IQ are the means to success. According to Duckworth, they aren't.

What I found most interesting, though, is the way the video was linked in Facebook. It said that her findings were surprising. To whom? To her? I find that hard to believe. Duckworth might have found it surprising that she was able find a correlation instead of simply anecdotal evidence, but haven't we (including Duckworth) known all along that elbow grease does the job? How many parents have said to their kids, "Hard work and determination are the keys to success." Who doesn't try to instill a good work ethic in their children? We've known what Duckworth says for a very long time, but I guess we just didn't have the data to show it.

All the octogenarians out there are sitting in their rockers, nodding their heads and saying I told you so. Sometimes it helps to listen to the elders.

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