What makes people succeed? Professor Angela Duckworth makes the case that natural talent has been overplayed—and it is in fact grit and determination that are key. She points to a 1940 Harvard study in which men in their 20s were put on a treadmill and their endurance measured.
Following this, they received two-yearly questionnaires until their 60s, measuring their income, social activities and reported life satisfaction. The result? Those with higher endurance lived more accomplished lives (even when controlling for fitness).
“The only thing I see that is distinctively different about me is that: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter, you might be sexier. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple” — Will Smith