Since the time Angela Duckworth gave that viral Ted Talk, everyone seems to be interested in Grit and rightly so. Though I’ve mentioned in another article that you need to avoid a lot of things to be successful.
However, this is the single most important characteristics that will ensure your success
But What is Grit?
It is a personality trait which helps us to persevere to achieve long-term goals.
It is sometimes used synonymously as mental toughness or resilience.
Angela Duckworth a notable researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, says that it is the MOST significant factor that determines the level of success a person will attain.
The story goes like this,
while teaching Maths to 7th-grade students in New Your City Public Schools, she found that:
- IQ was not the only difference between her best and worst students.
- Her strongest performers were not of highest IQ
- Smartest kids often didn’t do that well
So, she started researching about this tried to predict the outcome for individuals who are faced with challenging circumstance.
She and her team ran various experiments on different kinds of individuals in different age groups, like:
- Cadets of West Point Military Academy
- Children competing in National Spelling Bee
- Rookie teachers working in really tough neighborhood
All the results pointed her to only to one personality trait. It was GRIT!
In this short TED Talk, she wonderfully explains the concept and how it becomes the differentiating factor for the goal achievers.
Also, if you are further interested in reading, make sure to check out her bestseller
5 Characteristics of Grit:
You cannot measure Courage. It is directly proportional to the level of grit.
It is the quality of getting up after a failure and pursue your dream nevertheless.
Most of the successful people know that failure is a part of the game. They understand the valuable lessons that these failures may bring.
Our critics make us strong! Our fears make us bold!
Our haters make us wise! Our foes make us active!
Our obstacles make us passionate!
Our losses make us wealthy! Our disappointments make us appointed!
Our unseen treasures give us a known peace!
Whatever is designed against us will work for us!
― Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes
Conscientiousness means a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously.
Conscientious people tend to be efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly.
There are two types of people who can be considered Conscientious
- Achievement oriented
Achievement oriented individuals will work tirelessly, tries to do a good job and completes the task at hand.
However, the dependable ones are more conventional and self-controlled.
Hence, the former type is the ones who are more willing to take risks and succeed since the later type who may never step out of his comfort zone
What is resilience?
It is the ability to recover quickly from any difficulties.
People who are optimistic, tend to be more resilient. They have an open mind and can take any situation as is, without giving in.
If they find themselves in difficult situations, they will analyze the situation and focus on solving the problem.
Their belief system is strong and they know that they will succeed.
Hence, they can stay calm and collected in face of adversity and can make the situation work in their favor.
They are easily adaptable and adjust their attitude and goals as per the situation.
We all need resilience to live a fulfilling life.
With resilience, you’ll be more prepared to take on challenges,
to develop your talents, skills, and abilities so that
you can live with more purpose and more joy
– Erin Greitens Navy SEAL, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
When you hear the word perseverance, what is the first thing that pops into your head?
However, for a gritty person knows that the only way to attain a goal is to persist.
So, they will happily stay on the course by defeating all odds. Professional athletes are an excellent example of perseverance at work.
If they had given up the first time they lost a game or a running competition, they would not have become what they are today
If you want to read more about perseverance, check out the post by Janet Oberholtzer, Painful But Possible: A Story of Perseverance
Excellence and perfection, many times used interchangeably. But there is a basic difference. Perfection is rigid, unforgiving. Whereas excellence is an attitude. Gritty people have long given up the unhealthy quest of Perfectionism. They know that there is no such thing as perfectionism. Instead, they strive for excellence. They focus on improving themselves by learning from their mistakes. The main problem with perfectionism is that it will make you feel that preparation is not enough. That something is always missing. It will be so dreadful that eventually, you may not even start. Its roots are firmly planted in your fear. Your fear of failing.
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game’s winning shot and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed
How much gritty you are?
If you are not sure you can find it out straight away.
Angela Duckworth designed this survey as a way to measure someone’s grit.
Now that we know our score, let’s focus on developing our grit:
How do you develop Grit?
To develop it, you have to follow 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Find out what you like to do
Research shows that people tend to persevere more, if they like what they are doing
Before hard work comes play and really exploring our interest – Angela Duckworth
Taking such time offs help us understand what we like. But as adults, we often forget to take time off for play.
If we can find out what we like or love, we would have a solid foundation for Grit.
If you have always wanted to try something find out a way to try it. You don’t need to quit your regular job for that.
Try it out for a week or so, if you don’t like it, no biggie, try something else.
If you are unsure of what to do, you can always join groups of your interest in sites like meetup.
Step 2: Acquire the habit of discipline
Only knowing what you love or passionate about is not enough.
You need to have the perseverance to make it work.
For perseverance to work in favor, you need to become disciplined.
Most of the people get scared when they first hear the word discipline. However, acquiring discipline is not that hard.
Your entire life you have been waking up at 8:00 AM. But now you want to get up at 5:00 AM in the morning.
If you suddenly try to rise at 5:00 AM your body and mind will give up.
You will not be able to make it happen. So, try to get up only 10-15 min earlier than your regular schedule.
Practice this for one week. They again try to get up another 10-15 min earlier for one more week.
Gradually you will be able to reach your target of getting up by 5:00 AM.
Trying this gradual approach has another benefit.
Every time you are building on the success that you have achieved last time.
This will fill you with a sense of achievement and you will feel happy.
Once you start feeling happy, it will be a breeze for you to stick to your path.
In no time, you will acquire the habit of discipline.
Step 3: Have a sense of purpose
A Business That Makes Nothing but Money Is a Poor Business – Henry Ford.
Human beings are social animals (don’t pounce on me for calling you animal, take out your biology book instead)
We thrive when we feel connected to each other. If our passion doesn’t have a purpose, eventually it will become less satisfying and more likely than not, you will give up on your passion.
But how can we define purpose?
Purpose is the intention to contribute to the well-being of others says Angela
So, if you can connect your interest and perseverance with the well being of others, you will feel more satisfied with your achievement.
This, in turn, will help you stay focused on your goals and will keep you committed to your path.
Step 4: Have Hope
Our minds get defeated first and then we give up.
So, always maintain hope. When nothing seems to work, only hope can propel you further.
If you ever think of giving up, think about why you started?
Are you willing to go back to your earlier life?
If not, stick to your path my friend. You will find a way.
Grit is not about getting a high level of motivation or inspiration.
It is about staying committed to the small tasks that will help you to reach your goals.
It is about staying hopeful when going gets tough.
Have the discipline to stop yourself from getting distracted from your path due to boredom.
Grit is the only determining factor in your success and failure.