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9 Ways To Build More Grit

Grit is defined as someone’s ability to take ownership of their goals and how they strive to accomplish them, even in the face of obstacles and setbacks.  It’s often linked to cognitive control or self-regulation.

According to author Angela Duckworth, who’s an expert on grit (she literally wrote the book on it), grit is passion and perseverance for long- term goals.  When she defines grit, she likes to talk about what grit isn’t…

    • Grit isn’t talent.
    • Grit isn’t luck.
    • Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

Instead, grit is about having what some researchers call an “ultimate concern” – a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do.  And grit is holding steadfast to that goal.  Even when you fall down.  Even when you screw up.  Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow.

People with more grit are likely better able to deal with challenging and sometimes overwhelming emotions like anger, discouragement, and frustration.  As a result, they’re likely to perform better academically and professionally and are less likely to quit or drop out.

It isn’t easy to get more grit, but some steps include:

    • Setting achievable goals and focusing in on those that are most important
    • Knowing why it’s important for you to learn or practice a sometimes-tedious task – that is, know your greater purpose and passion
    • Improving your coping skills
    • Practicing deliberately by spending the time necessary on each task
    • Believing your willpower is limitless and you have inexhaustible resources to achieve your goals
    • Practicing optimistic self-talk with a growth mindset (yes, you can get better!)
    • Reframing how you view mistakes; instead of viewing them as failures, look at them as learning opportunities
    • Rethinking about job responsibilities, tasks, etc., in ways that may you filled with more purpose (e.g., “What can I do in small ways that would make this more meaningful?”)
    • Celebrating small wins as you improve – grit is like a muscle: you need to work it and challenge it little by little to help it grow stronger.

Believing you lack self-control or willpower can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Everyone experiences setbacks, gives in to temptations, or finds themselves lacking from time to time.

Talent and luck matter to success.  But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit.  In the long run, grit matters more.

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