Episode No. 139
  •  May 23, 2024

Grit, Persistence and Discomfort

Tapping Into Your Hidden Potential

From embracing discomfort to seeking advice, Crina and Kirsten dive into Dr. Adam Grant’s new book on the science of achievement. Discover how grit and persistence can lead to mastery, no matter where you are in your journey.


In this episode of Crina and Kirsten Get to Work our hosts discuss Adam Grant’s new book on the science of achievement.  Ever thought about what you’d like to get better at? Crina wants to learn how to have more fun and Kirsten is still working on figuring out “no.”  Sigh.

Mastery can start at any chapter of your life. Take Laura Ingalls Wilder, who penned her first success in her 60s, or Vera Wang, who leapt from ice skates to runway gowns. Julia Child didn’t publish her first cookbook until 50, and Phyllis Diller took up stand-up comedy at 37.  Or consider Steve Martin who spent years doing the labor of writing his own jokes to get really good at it – he did not start out being good, he learned to be so very good.

Dr. Adam Grant argues in his new book Hidden Potential that those who might lack natural flair but possess the grit to persist, embrace discomfort, and seek advice often outpace the naturally gifted. Think about it: the kid on the soccer field who isn’t the fastest but keeps pushing might just outshine the rest with sheer willpower.

Society tends to glorify innate talent.  First off, it is just fun to watch someone who is innately good at something.  We may value innate talent because it gives us an easy out when we are not naturally good at something – we do not have to experience the discomfort of trying.  And yet we know that real satisfaction comes from finding our way through the tough stuff.  Child prodigies often find real-world challenges daunting precisely because they haven’t navigated the messier, less predictable paths of life.  The dichotomy of talent and challenge is fundamental to understanding our hidden potential.

Grant suggests that we embrace the discomfort that signals we are learning, mix up our routine to keep things interesting, and engage in the dual dance of seeking and giving advice.   And there is so much more in Hidden Potential so give it a read.