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Angela Lee Duckworth was a high-flying consultant for McKinsey until she left her job to teach math in public schools. After five years of teaching seventh-graders, she went on to complete her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied students, West Point cadets and corporate salespeople to determine what made them successful.

While the most commonly held belief was that talent and IQ were the keys to a better, more successful life, her research found that “grit” was a better indicator of personal and professional success than any other factor.

In this day and age of I-need-answers-now, grit is a trait that often gets forgotten.

If you don’t find what you are looking for on the first page of Google, it doesn’t mean the answer is not out there. I often joke that if investigations were that easy, everyone would be doing them.

What every good investigator knows is that you need grit, perseverance and sheer determination to elevate yourself.

That may require chasing down every last lead and interviewing 47 witnesses before you find that one golden nugget of information.

Or it may require reviewing 10,742 tweets before you find that one tweet that could break the case wide open.

It may mean digging through the basement of a courthouse to find that 1977 charge of sexual harassment.

It may require reviewing thousands of pages of property records to figure out that there is something shady going on.

Or you may need to spend dozens of hours combing through nine different databases and interviewing distant relatives to find that long-lost Aunt May.

Ten times out of 10, I will take the grittiest, most determined investigator who was blessed with the patience of a saint over the smartest person in the room.

Because it’s the grit that separates the good investigators from the great ones.

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5 replies
  1. Ken Ammerman
    Ken Ammerman says:

    Seeing ‘outside the box’ is, without a doubt, the most valuable ability for an investigator. Sometimes called “The Zen of No-Thing,” it is a habit of mind that leads to an awareness of what is essential to complete the picture, to square the circle; to see what you are looking at. Ken Ammerman

  2. Private detective manchester stockport
    Private detective manchester stockport says:

    Great blog,
    Incidentally, only this weekend passed, I had to use some determination to complete a process serve on a very evasive respondent. False names etc.
    The client authorised a small amount of surveillance on a property we believed he resided at. Not being a sitting on my rear in the car type of person, I had a stroll around a nearby church yard, that let me overlook the property.
    It was in a small car park tucked away at the back that I managed to get my man.
    Whilst he may have used different names, he was unfortunately slightly vain, and had a personalised car registration. I spotted him driving through because the plate caught my eye, and served him as he alighted the vehicle.

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