What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life
Have you ever met someone who thrives through adversity, and who transforms their pain into opportunities for growth? In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth describes these types of people as possessing grit. From her research, she has found that grit is what separates those who are successful from those who fail.
So, what is grit, you may ask?
Passion + Perseverence = Achievement
In the words of Angela Duckworth herself,
“Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, and not just for the week, not just for the month, but years.”
The problem that a lot of people face is that they seek the shortcut to success. They want to work less while still achieving more. Unfortunately, that’s not how success works.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to be willing to do anything and everything. I believe that the most meaningful goals require an insane amount of hard work, determination, discipline, commitment, and sacrifice. But get real with yourself — are you ready to go all-in? How bad do you want to succeed?
Why Is Grit Important?
Nothing of value in life comes easily. Success is never a coincidence.
Research indicates that the ability to be gritty — to stick with things that are important to you and bounce back from failure — is an essential component of success.
You can have all the talent in the world, but you will never achieve your goals without effort. This is why grit is the foundation of success.
What Are the Characteristics of Grit?
The good news is that grit can be developed and mastered over time. However, you first need to adopt a growth mindset. Unfortunately, many people have a fixed mindset.
They are conditioned to believe that their intelligence cannot improve. While a fixed mindset is based in “I can” or “I can’t,” a growth mindset celebrates the journey from “I can’t” to “I can.”
Do you see your intelligence as fixed, or do you believe that you can grow and change?
Below are the characteristics of grit. Reflect upon the ones that you resonate with the most and still need to strengthen.
Where there is passion, there is always a purpose. Passionate people know themselves inside and out. They have a clear understanding of their values, beliefs, and needs.
More importantly, they live in alignment with their truth and inspire others to do the same. Living with passion is about paying attention to and following what makes you come alive inside.
Not everyone will understand your path in life, and that’s okay. True grit is being able to tune out others’ judgments and stay in your lane.
I’ve never met a strong person who had an easy-breezy past. Persevering, despite all odds, is about learning how to sit with your darkness and soften into the discomfort.
The only difference between those who succeed versus those who fail is their willingness to persevere and continue failing forward. It’s knowing that your desire to achieve your dreams burns brighter than any obstacle.
Learn how to embrace discomfort and use pain as a tool to grow and become more. Celebrate yourself every step of the way and don’t stop until you’re insanely proud of the person you’ve become.
Gritty people are resilient, in the sense that they thrive through adversity. They reframe every challenge as an opportunity and do the work to become the master of their emotions.
Research reveals that resilience is a test of how tough you are. Instead, it has everything to do with your willingness to keep trying after others have given up.
Resilient people are conscious enough to know when it is time to surrender to the rollercoaster ride of life. Their ability to soften into what is can make room for what will be.
What Is an Example of Grit?
It was like any other day in my life. I got on my motorcycle and rode off. Because I was just going up the road, I decided not to wear my helmet. Little did I know that this sudden decision would change my entire life.
I was supposed to be back home in 15 minutes, but that didn’t happen. Five minutes into riding my bike, I had an accident. I hit my head on the pavement, suffered a traumatic brain injury, and was rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery.
I remember the moment like it was yesterday. This experience left me with PTSD, post-concussion syndrome, chronic pain, and anxiety.
However, it also gave me a second chance to recreate my life and develop unshakeable mental strength and grit.
It’s been three years since my accident. I’m not the same person that I used to be. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I chose to transform my pain into power. To this day, I continue to pull upon my grit. It has become my superpower.
Let me be clear: I’m not special. I was just willing to do what was challenging for many. Giving up was never an option. How I have responded to my knockdowns has determined my success in life.
The obstacles that I faced along my healing journey (and still do to this day) had given me a strength that I never knew I had. Pain can be a gift if you are willing to find its meaning behind all the mess.
When you have the courage to use your pain as motivational strength, you will realize that there is nothing you cannot overcome.
How Do You Develop Grit?
Grit is like a muscle that you train and flex at the gym. You need to do the same thing with your mind. Let’s explore what you can do to build mental toughness every day.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
The fastest way to master anything is to practice and repeat it. To persevere, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. This is how you flex your grit muscle.
At the end of the day, grit comes down to what habits you engage in daily. It’s about doing the things you know you’re supposed to do on a more consistent basis that will contribute to your success.
The more that you invest in your personal growth, the more skilled you will become. In turn, you can keep doing the things that you excel at.
2. Connect With Your Purpose
Gritty people live on purpose.
After studying 16,000 people, Duckworth found that “grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life.”
The next time that you encounter an obstacle that tries to take you off course, reconnect with your why. It will be the one thing that motivates you to keep moving forward, even when you feel like throwing in the towel.
3. Don’t Give Up
When things get difficult, do you give up easily or use your low moments to push yourself forward and become stronger?
Gritty people look a challenge dead in the eye and give it a wink. They don’t quit until they win.
The only failure in life is quitting. Life is supposed to be messy. You’re supposed to fail. It’s a core part of the human experience. All that matters is how you respond to failure.
It’s okay if you fall seven times, as long as you make sure that you stand up on the eighth time. If you can master the art of never giving up, there is no limit to what you can achieve in life.
The Bottom Line
You have one life, so make it a masterpiece.
The only limitations standing in your way are the ones in your mind. When you master your mind, you master your life.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Strive to be a gritty person in every area of your life.
Your future self will thank you for it.
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