“ It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. “ – Teddy Roosevelt ( Grand Sire of Grit, spoke about the importance of overcoming fear and managing vulnerability in an address he made at the Sorbonne in 1907 )
What Is Grit?
Grit is defined in psychology as a personality trait. It is possessed by individuals known to demonstrate passion and perseverance towards achieving a set goal or objective, despite obstacles and distraction that come up.
Before now, Success was thought to be a factor of just innate talents, superior genes and high Intelligence quotients. Other less acceptable factors for achieving one’s dreams and goals were also attributed to “dumb luck” or a “fate.”
However, research has found that of all measurable factors that goes into success in any venture, one factor which is the highest predictor of any ones success is “Grit” – your ability to persevere no matter what happens along the way to achieving your dreams.
Grit is a diligent spirit; the nagging conviction that keeps you pressing on when it is easier to give up.
Grit is what makes you get back on course to achieving your goals after a major setback (or a setback of any kind).
Grit is the realization that achieving one’s greatest potential comes from running a marathon, not a sprint.
According to research, The two biggest indicators of Grit in anyone are:
Those with grit do not look at their difficulties or failures as a reason to give up but rather use them as opportunities to grow and become better equipped for the bigger challenges up ahead.
The Importance of Grit in your life.
To get better at any skill in life or in pursuit of your dreams, you need “Grit”. It could be basketball, Writing, Public speaking, Sales, Management, Make-up or any business venture etc.
While talent, your levels of intelligence, dumb luck and opportunity might play a part in reaching your goals, your ability ot remain gritty would play the hugest role on your way to success.
There is really no way around working hard for your success. To achieve any worthwhile goals you have you should be willing to put in the work required of you.
The good news is that it is never too late to learn the characteristics of being Gritty as it is a learnable trait.
Here are 4 ways you can teach yourself to be gritty..
When it is time to practice or work towards a goal you have, the set aside time should be to do just that. Do not sacrifice the time set aside to get better at a skill for instant gratifications from social media, TV or bad habits which would lead to more procrastination.
You know that “practice makes perfect” but only focused practice can give you the greatest reward.
Look at the distraction around you and realise the small rewards of “instant gratification” they offer you.
When you are working on your goals and you have the urge to check every notification that pops up, remember what you are working towards.
Another bonus tip is to do your work in “pomodoros” – 25 minutes of focused work and 5 minutes as a rest period to do something you enjoy – maybe one of your distractions.
You can practice with the “pomodoro” and get a lot more done – just don’t get lost during your “break/reward time” – use a timer preferably to stay on track.
2. Eradicate your fixed Mindset:
Some of us grew up thinking intelligence in “fixed” and while recent research has come to prove otherwise especially as regards to the brain and “Neuroplasticity”.
We know now that the brain changes everyday and with repetition we can in fact learn and get better at any skill.
This means that talent is not just earned but worked for.
You can read our previous post here on How to develop A growth mindset which is the opposite of a fixed mindset.
3. Confront your fear of failure:
You’d fail at any worthwhile pursuit. Understanding that and learning from your failure instead of using them as an excuse to quit would take you far.
While it is easier said than done – learning to see failure as an opportunity for growth would help you remain on course. See failure as an avenue to learn and develop more.
You can train yourself by doing one thing you fear that would improve your life daily or weekly. Start small and build.
4. Create your own reward System:
Most worthwhile pursuits are usually long term goals you set. It would take many weeks/Months before you begin to see significant results.
While that is a long time to wait and see results, creating your own reward system in the short term can help you stay focused and give you a better reward with intentional “instant gratification”
Following up from the bonus pomodoro hack, you can reward yourself in the 5 minute interval with social media or anything you enjoy AFTER you have done focused work for the 25 minutes.
You can also set rewards for reaching milestones you set. E.g if you want to read more books – you can promise to finish a book in a week and reward yourself that weekend doing something you enjoy.
This makes your long term project more fun and fulfilling.
If you break it down into smaller pieces and reward yourself along the way, you will be more aware of your progress and more likely to stay motivated to the task at hand.
Further Recommended readings on Grit: