If I Were Running A Company…Grit

Written by Tracy

As you know, I’m a big D.C. sports fan and of the major sports, I prefer baseball. There’s an inside joke among Nationals fans of why some Nats fans were upset when Steve Lombardozzi (and two others) were traded to the Detroit Tigers for Doug Fister last year. As an experiment, Nationals 101 simulated seasons between the gritty team (based on MASNCommenter’s account) and the actual teams. The results are here and it shows a significant difference between the actual team vs. the gritty team with the actual team going to the postseason all 10 times and won 4 World Series, while the gritty made 4 playoff appearances and did not do as much.

Last year, Ben Larcombe, a table tennis coach, coached up a non-player named Sam Priestly, and predicted he would put in the top 250 table tennis players in the world.

The results were mixed. In the video above, although Sam improved significantly in one year, he still is not in the top 250 and not even close to compete on the elite level yet. There are some theories from not enough training hours to not picking the right sport. However, this theory from Matthew Syed, jumps at me,

‘In subjects like mathematics, if young people are not very good at the beginning they tend to give up because they don’t think they have got a brain for numbers,’ he says.

‘Whereas in places like China there is a very widespread cultural belief that you get better with training, so people tend to persist longer.

The very belief about how success happens shapes the behaviours that we adopt.’

Most of the experts agree that schools need to focus on effort and not on natural ability or instant gratification.

The two articles I shared are examples of hard work, quantified. We all agree hard work is very important and it could reach to a greater status. The issue is if you try, it won’t be enough. The BBC article mentions playing violin takes lots of practice, but what the article doesn’t mention is does the person enjoy being a violin player? The BBC article is geared more toward a singular-focus on a subject.

The BBC article was right that the western culture (specifically the United States) are failing students on STEM, but for the wrong reasons. the reasons students are not up to par in the states are numerous:

  • Budget cuts
  • Parenting
  • Uniform Testing

Hard work can’t overcome a mess the kids and the younger generation did not create. If you want kids to learn better, here are two words: integrate and relate.

If you want you kid to do great, integrate subjects they might understand. For example, how video games make for better doctors; how acting classes become great lawyers; how mathematics make better athletes (or better in every profession); how science makes for better food; and others. This is why some suggest people need to try different things at a young age so they become better workers in the future based on past experiences.

Speaking of past experiences, this is where adults need to play a key role to relate to the younger generation to not make the same mistakes. The issue is, as adults, we focus too much on ourselves and that we’re forcing the younger generation to our vision, not theirs. We tell them to learn or play a certain way, instead of teaching them to be better at it. there is a difference there.

We love the concept of hard work because we can see it through our eyes and we can quantify it. That’s the ironic part the Nationals 101 article: people want more grit and it gave the Nats less wins in a simulated reality. In actual reality, all the Nationals players do work hard and it has shown the past four seasons. My guess why people love a gritty team? Gritty teams mostly over perform and exceed expectations, while talented teams are viewed as “under-performing” because we set unrealistic high expectations/goals of the team, which may or may not be fair. Hard word and effort make up most of our performance and results, but don’t discount natural talent, environment, and luck. If they find 2 of the 3, they’ll be find…if they work hard.

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