Grit: What is It and Does it Matter?
Psychologist Angela Duckworth has studied the idea of Grit and has come to believe that despite any outward advantages someone may have when pursuing their goals, the deciding factor is often grit over mental or natural ability. Angela's work indicates that there are greater forces at play in people who rise and achieve at greater levels.
So what is Grit?
Grit is the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit is the use of stamina and sticking to the job until it's done. Grit is understanding what's at stake and doing what's necessary to stay in the fight over the long haul, much like running a marathon.
Why does Grit Matter?
We all have something that inside of us we love to do and have the ability to reach for that potential. The question is do you have what it takes to get to that peak? We all can but we have to overcome obstacles and able to get out of tough situations to achieve that goal. Here are a few ways to develop that grit and have that desire to reach that goal:
1. Graciously, invite discipline to the table.
Grit is having enough love and respect for yourself to apply consistent discipline with yourself.
If you are a parent, or have spent any time around small children, you know that if you let them have their every want, chaos and even death may result. They would eat cupcakes for breakfast, poke things into light sockets, run down the middle of a busy street with wild abandon and, quite possibly, burn the house down (all within 30 minutes of getting out of bed).
As parents we know discipline (applied in a loving, grace-filled way) develops responsibility that will serve our kids years down the road, but at what point during growing-up did we decide that we no longer needed to be disciplined? Or that is was a bad thing?
In our fast paced, I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now culture, it seems to me discipline has become a lost art. Heaven forbid we should actually have to apply ourselves consistently for a long period of time to get what we actually want! In the absence of discipline we are literally reverting to toddlerhood and that is just dangerous NOT productive.
Discipline is the backbone of grit.
2. Quit the negative self-talk
You are robbing yourself of your own power with the words you are using to describe the challenges you have with reaching your goals. The words you use to define yourself become your beliefs and your beliefs have EVERYTHING to do with the final outcome of your story.
“I am not motivated enough.”
“I am too lazy.”
“I don’t have any drive.”
“I will always struggle with my weight.”
Any of these statements sound familiar?
When you tell yourself you aren’t motivated, guess what? You won’t be motivated.
When you tell yourself nothing works, guess what? Nothing will.
When you say you will always struggle with your weight, you will absolutely find a way to make that statement true (after all, we don’t like to prove ourselves wrong).
Stay conscious of the words you are using and choose wisely. Grit believes what you tell it.
3. Get Clear on Your Moral Compass
If you aren’t clear on what you stand for or the kind of life you want to live, you won’t put up much of a fight when the going gets rough…and it always gets rough at some point.
I have never actually heard someone speak the words, “My health is just not that important to me.” Not ever!
Despite actions that make it appear otherwise, deep down everyone values their health. Health is vital to life! No matter what we say is most important to us, good health is going to help maximize our pursuit of that thing.
Revisiting your moral compass daily can help you navigate the most direct route to your health goals. Remind yourself every day who you want to be in this world and then proceed by acting like that person. There is actually a name for that…it is called integrity.
Grit blossoms in the light of integrity.
4. Fertilize With Failure
People who are successful with their big, scary goals know that failure hurts AND that it is inevitable if you are living life with an ounce of boldness to it; but it doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. In fact, people who have failed a lot in their pursuit of their goal see their failures as an invaluable and even necessary part of their journey to greatness.
The more you fail, the quicker and more graceful your rebound becomes.
Failure, in the presence of the right mindset, can be the most powerful fertilizer for grit.
5. Sleep On It For One More Night
There is only one way to extinguish grit and that is to quit. When you give in, give up, walk away and close the door…when you quit…you give up your power to fight. Then, and only then, do you lose.
That isn’t to say that sometimes quitting isn’t the right choice, but more often than not it is a premature decision made on a day that just fell flat in the grit department. When the sun rises the next day, there is a good change that hope will rise with it.
Grit gets supercharged in the presence of hope. So, sleep on your decision to quit before you actually do, my friend.
Your grit stores are replenished while you sleep.
We all have a certain grit to us and it’s a matter of creating a purpose, being in a culture where everyone is pushing themselves to be better, keep on practicing and have that hope. All these traits can develop that grit within yourself. And it can take you wherever you desire it to be.