HATS off to Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton who last weekend completed an arduous 500-mile trek to the South Pole.
Skelton travelled on skis, by kite and ice bike during her Sport Relief challenge, battling for 18 days through severe snow storms and temperatures as low as -48C. Such was the enormity of the task that explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes admitted he burst out laughing when he first heard about it.
How did she do it? One word: grit.
For years higher intelligence, raw talent and born aptitude have been used to gauge success, but of late researchers have honed in on a previously neglected mental trait: an ability to dig deep and tough it out when things get difficult. Dr Angela Duckworth, assistant professor in department of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, has extensively researched the topic over the past decade developing a "Grit Scale" to measure an individual's level of perseverance.
Among her findings was that the Grit Scale provided an alternative to IQ score in predicting whether a child competing in a national spelling bee would advance to the final round.
She also discovered that grit measurement outweighed high school class rank, test scores and even physical fitness level in pre-empting which cadets entering West Point Military Academy would complete a super tough training session nicknamed "Beast Barracks".
So if you ever wondered how that academically average school mate became a millionaire business tycoon or a former couch potato friend completed their first triathlon in record time, there is a good chance it can be chalked up to grit.
The good news is that, while some people are born with it, it's a trait scientists believe can be learned too. So be it persevering with getting that book published, pushing yourself through an extra set of stomach crunches or trekking to Antarctica, it's never too late get your grit on.
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