If you want to be successful in whatever floats in the cloud above your head you need one thing. It’s not a rich sugar daddy, a sexy hairdo, social intelligence or even a gifted mind. Although those things are nice, none of them are proven to make you successful and happy. One thing that has been proven is the link between grit and every accomplishment achieved by man since the first hunters tracked the saber-toothed tiger.
The study of grit has only been around for a few years pioneered by Angela Duckworth and her team. Angela studied West Point Cadets and National Spelling Bee Finalists to determine that the only clear factor of success was grit. Simply put, grit is the passion and perseverance to maintain focus on long term goals. I recommend you take a look at Angela’s iconic TED Talk where she explains the key to success.
Grit is the reason some geniuses fail to do anything with their lives and why the intellectually challenged can achieve greatness. In our modern day world, we often see the achievements of many people but what we don’t see is the hard work and challenges these people have gone through to get them there. You can have all the knowledge of Google, but if you give up at the first sign of challenge or you don’t even try then you amount to nothing at all.
Grit is the difference maker in all achievements and the beauty of it is that you can acquire this incredible trait right now. Although it may seem simple at first it is, in fact, a very complex idea. This article is full of ways to approach grit and make it a major part of your life. I encourage you to understand grit so that you can reach your full potential.
Test your Grit
If you are interested in testing your level of grit, the University of Pennsylvania has created a test. To ensure an accurate result when taking this test try to be completely honest. You don’t have to show anyone your results. Think back to situations where you can apply these questions to your past experiences. Keep in mind if you happen to score low it is only an indication of the past, not the future. You will improve your level of grit if you continue reading the tips in this article. You can take the test for grit here.
A very common misconception is that personality can’t change and that we are stuck “The way you are.” Psychologists are now starting to prove that the big five personality traits identified decades ago are merely a snapshot of the moment, not the entire narrative. This is a very important factor in the conversation on grit. It means that if you score low on the scale now you can still change the deep rooted psychological wiring of your personality. Changing things that are done automatically in the mind is no small feat. It takes a willingness to improve and the time to tweak your psyche. This article written by Dr. Jonice Webb of Psycentral.com outlines The 5 Essential Steps to Change a Personality Trait. The article provides the essential factors as well as the steps necessary to influence your personality the way you want it.
The Growth Mindset
Angela mentioned in her TED talk that the best way to promote grit is the idea of the growth mindset. It was developed by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck and is widely accepted as the biggest innovation in educational thinking of our time. The growth mindset in its basic form is defined as the way of thinking that your abilities are not fixed and can be improved through hard work and dedication. The beauty and importance of the growth mindset is in the details of how it applies to the way we think about our role in our daily lives. This wise and intensely helpful article entitled 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset written by Saga Briggs of InformED.com explains exactly what the growth mindset is and how it can help you become a better person. The real benefit of this article is the 25 actionable ways to foster a growth mindset in your life.
A key component of determination in the long term is the ability to motivate from within otherwise known as intrinsic motivation. The alternative, external motivators such as a prize, praise and punishment are only useful in the short term and don’t impact motivation as well as personal growth. If you are training for a race to win a trophy (external), you are only training for the short term feeling of being on the podium and then the trophy will end up on a back shelf somewhere. If you are running a race for the health or personal growth (internal), you will naturally put more emphasis on it because the lifelong benefit is far more valuable than a short champion’s high. The challenge then is to channel these motivators into what is important to your personal journey. This article written by Tyler Tervooren of Riskology.com does a much better job than I of breaking down the components of Internal vs. External Motivation. Although the context of Tyler’s article is rooted in an exercise routine, the advice he gives towards cultivating internal motivation is universal and easily applicable to everyday life.
Grit from Adversity
Having to overcome adversity and hardship is a very powerful way to build grit naturally. Many of the most successful people of all time have had to overcome poverty, disability, and circumstance to get where they’re going. Difficult situations teach us how not to give up and that we can do what it takes even though sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. You may not have had to overcome major adversity in your life, but you can still learn a lot from the experience of those that have. This article written by Michelle Colvard of Abilities.com provides an encouragingly accurate list of 5 Ways to Thrive in the Face of Adversity. This article does a perfect job of illuminating the mindset necessary to let grit blossom in your personality.
The Passion Factor
It is safe to say that grit is greatly impacted by your level of passion. If the path of your life is aligned with your passions it is incredibly easy to stay focused. Conversely, if you are forced to persevere on pursuits that you don’t feel passionate about it will tear you apart with stress and despair. Passion comes in many forms and can be used as a powerful grit boost in many ways. A lot of people talk about finding a job they are passionate about, but I think your job can also be a means towards your passion or a way to support your passion. In truth, your passion can be anything at all: health, children, photography, friends, intelligence, achievement, philanthropy, change, and beyond. Tinybuddha.com is a great website dedicated to simple wisdom and this article written by Ashley Wilhite provides a perfect framework for the reflection needed to Discover Your Passion and Live a Life You Love.
One of the major underlying themes of grit is the ability to be resilient in the face of failure. Being resilient comes from within and is a skill that can definitely be molded over time. Failure is not an end, it’s an adjustment. MindTools.com is an insanely valuable website that provides applicable resources for life and this article on Developing Resilience is remarkable. It does a great job of explaining what resilience is and the various components of it as well as providing practical tips you can use immediately to cultivate resilience in your everyday life.
As a parent, understanding grit and how we can provide the right environments for our children to develop is monumentally important in raising happy thriving adults. This captivating article on Grit Parenting written by Jenny Williams of AFineParent.com is part of an amazing series on building character in our children. It provides an in-depth understanding of grit in real life situations. She provides amazing examples of how you can create the right environment to teach your child the important lesson of perseverance. The techniques used in the article are very simple in nature, but can be a very powerful way to show your children how to stick to their guns and never give up.
I would love to hear your pointers on cultivating grit in everyday life or to hear your story of how you persevered with hard work and dedication. If you liked this article, you can follow me on social media where I’ll provide more great guides to enhance your life.