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Super Grit

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Success, as Angela Duckworth emphasizes in her research and writings, grows from talent and grit: Highly successful people are often conscientious, determined, and doggedly energetic.

And then there is the super grit displayed by champion ultra-marathoner, Pete Kostelnick, who recently completed the fastest-ever San Francisco to New York City run across the U.S. He did the 3100 miles with daily runs averaging 73 miles. For 42 days, that was nearly three back-to-back marathons a day!

My introductory psychology text co-author and friend, Nathan DeWall, ran a segment with Kostelnick. In this splendid New York Times essay, Nathan tells the story of Kostelnick’s talent and grit that enabled this record achievement.

Nathan is himself an exemplar of super grit, having willfully transformed himself from out-of-shape to ultra marathoner—losing 100 pounds in the process. He was in my state last weekend, for the six-hour Michigan Bad Apple run (after which he stopped by my house, below). For Nathan, six hours is a mere training run for the 100 mile ultra marathon he’ll be doing in two weeks. And that unthinkable distance is a breeze compared with his recent week-long 500k (310 mile) run across Tennessee. For most of us mortals, with finite energy reserves, normal grit suffices. But in various life domains, some folks, it seems, are those whose motivation and daily discipline defines super grit.

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About the Author
David Myers has spent his entire teaching career at Hope College, Michigan, where he has been voted “outstanding professor” and has been selected by students to deliver the commencement address. His award-winning research and writings have appeared in over three dozen scientific periodicals and numerous publications for the general public. He also has authored five general audience books, including The Pursuit of Happiness and Intuition: Its Powers and Perils. David Myers has chaired his city's Human Relations Commission, helped found a thriving assistance center for families in poverty, and spoken to hundreds of college and community groups. Drawing on his experience, he also has written articles and a book (A Quiet World) about hearing loss, and he is advocating a transformation in American assistive listening technology (see www.hearingloop.org).