Since the release of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance, many people have been reflecting a lot on the research, the book, and the impact on society of a mindset like :
“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”
In this instant bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Grit (the book) offers a strong case for substantiating the premise that when it comes to successful outcomes, grit trumps talent every time. Duckworth is a scientist and her claim is convincing not because she believes it (although she does) but because of numerous studies that she has cited, may of which she has engaged in herself.
Unlike talent, which is fixed and remains fairly constant through life, grit can be developed and strengthened through intentional practices many of which she describes in the book.
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
The examples that she uses are taken from a wide range of situations, fields and experiences including athletics, performing artists, outstanding entrepreneurs, spelling bee winners, and West Point cadets.
Since my area of interest and fascination is in the area of human performance, excelling at your passions, I found her theory applicable and relevant. From the years of study, work and personal observation in assisting others to grow stronger, I feel Duckworth’s research and theory validate the next conclusions about the ways that we can all grow grit:
Know what lights you up, where you feel enthusiastic, alive and happy. Know your deepest values and what your keen areas of interest are. Strengthen the desire to more deeply understand your chosen field. Being proactive to learn more will be fuel in your tank for the long haul.
Having the fortitude to hang in there even when it is challenging or difficult
- Concentration and Attention
Bring focused attention to your chosen area of interest and avoid distractions.
Keep your eye on the goal and take actions that are aligned with it.
Cultivate the attitude that “If it’s to be, it’s up to, me.” Hold yourself as being at cause rather than at effect of the process.
Cultivate a hopeful, optimistic orientation. This serves to drown out critical voices of doom in the mind, discouraging words from others, and thoughts that can diminish your enthusiasm.
Allowing sufficient time to devote to your specific area to use it for deliberate practice.
The journey towards any valuable goal takes more patience than we think it should and the practice of mindfulness is a great strengthener of patience.
The willingness to exert yourself.
The philosopher Ken Keyes says, “The secret of life is sticking with it.” Just don’t quit.
Be willing to face and endure discomfort and pain in the process of fulfilling your vision.
Create new habits through diligent practice.
The development of grit requires support. Enlist and engage with role models, mentors, teachers, coaches, and those who are further along on a similar path.
Be willing to exercise your imagination and take the road less traveled.
We will need some to stay with it when the process is difficult or boring.
Sticking with the process allows us to constantly improve even when there is repeated frustration.
Some people have a flare up of infatuation with an area of interest and are obsessed with it for a short time, but then drop it. Those with grit maintain their passionate area of interest spanning over many years. Their enthusiasm endures.
Get back on the horse after you are thrown but don’t forget to learn from your experience.
Invite feedback, especially negative feedback from trusted friends and colleagues.
- Purpose and Meaning
Choose goals that enhance the lives and well-being of others a well as your own. When we find out what our special gifts are and are busy giving them to our community, we know that we are contributing to the well being of others.
If you have a passionate interest in excelling at your dreams, these are some ways you can grow some more grit. The qualities mentioned above will position you well so that you are likely to manifest your vision.
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