Now, I realize for the last two blog entries I have referenced the Seattle Seahawks, but bear with me one more week. You see, one of the reasons I love sports so much is because they teach you about life when you take the time to learn about the players, coaches and the team; (ask me sometime about a key change in my life that occurred as a result of following the early Seahawk team).
So here is what I was thinking this week as I was pondering what impact this most devastating Super Bowl loss might have on the team long term. I recalled an article I had read in the past regarding the Seahawks and the personality trait called “grit”. You see Pete Carroll and John Schneider, (Seahawks GM), became very intrigued with this personality trait and even invited the recent research scientists in this area to come speak to them about their research.
Grit is defined as “trait-level perseverance and passion for long term goals” and research done to date has “showed that grit predicted achievement in challenging domains over and beyond measures of talent.” (Duckworth, Univ of Pennsylvania, 2007). The Seattle Seahawks have been slowly building a team that is young, talented AND have this special trait called “grit”. I think those of us that have watched this team now for the last several years sure see this played out. I read that the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick when talking about the Seahawks before the Super Bowl, gushed about them (and he is not known for gushing about anything), here is what he said:
“The thing that impresses me the most, and the thing that I guess I would like to do a better job of, is just the way that his teams play for 60 minutes,” Belichick said. “They play from the opening kickoff to the final whistle or the final gun. They play from the snap of the ball until the whistle blows at the end of the play. They play extremely hard down after down after down, week after week, year after year. They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed.”
I believe that one of the key reasons for this is we have a team filled with lots of grit. They have a perseverance and passion that is amazing to behold. I am presently reading a book about the brain and music and one interesting fact I learned this week is that it takes about 10,000 hrs of practice to be an “expert” at anything (that is roughly three hours a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice over 10 years!). What that tells me is that anyone that wants to achieve the highest level of expertise needs to have a lot of grit!! I am not worried about the Seahawks overcoming this crushing loss with all of the “true grit” they possess!
Terri and I saw lots of pilgrims walking that had “grit”, that is for sure. Each pilgrim that walked that 500 miles over 5 or 6 weeks had to have it in spades or they likely did not make it!
The last thought I will leave you with is how important this trait is to try and cultivate in our children and grandchildren! I am sure that some of this trait is from our nature but I am also sure that we can nurture it as well. In fact here is an article from the Seattle Times on a book written about this. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character