Advertising

Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life

What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life
Advertising

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.[1]

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.

Advertising

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.”[2]

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.

Passion

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.

Perseverance

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.

Advertising

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.

Resilience

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.[3]

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.

Advertising

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.[4]

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.”[5]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

More on Showing Your Grit

Featured photo credit: Jack Sloop via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

How Successful Women Shake Up and Redefine the Workplace 4 Signs You Have a Victim Mentality (And How to Break out of It) How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide) What Motivates You to Succeed in Life and Keep Moving Forward? 5 Reasons Why Keeping a Mood Journal Is Good For Your Mental Health

Trending in Success Mindset

1 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd 2 Is There a True Measure of Success? How to Define Your Own 3 How Do You Measure Success: 10 New And Better Ways 4 50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn 5 8 Daily Habits of the Successful People (Which Are Rare)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd
Advertising

If you are like most people, you probably have big goals and dreams that you would like to succeed in — you want to be the top in your career, live a healthy lifestyle, or flourish in your relationships.

Everyone dreams of a positive future, but most people don’t realize the secret to a truly successful life:

You determine your future in the way you spend your everyday moments. If you want to be a successful person, you must consistently develop good daily habits. As Aristotle pointed out:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Building positive daily habits is a huge challenge, but can you imagine the amazing things you could accomplish with just a little commitment and determination?

Creating lasting, healthy habits is the real key difference between people who are successful in life and those who are unsuccessful.

You might be wondering which specific habits make the biggest difference. Not to worry, I’ve compiled a comparison list to help you get a jump start on a successful future.

1. Successful people embrace change. Unsuccessful people fear change.

Change is a constant for all of humanity, and it is important that you develop a positive relationship with it.

When unexpected or unwelcome changes arise, ask yourself how you can embrace it instead of running away. A few practical ways to reverse a change-fearing mindset include:

  • Take a moment to recognize and address any fears associated with the upcoming change.
  • Communicate with a person you trust about your negative feelings toward change.
  • Practice positive thinking, which you can read about in the next section.

2. Successful people exude joy. Unsuccessful people think, say and do negative things.

A joyful, positive disposition can seem like a distant reality in today’s cynical world, but it may be easier to achieve than you think. All you have to do is notice the good things around you and practice being thankful.

Advertising

Mindfulness and gratitude are not just buzz words – choosing a positive attitude can honestly change your life. Many studies have found that thankfulness leads to greater happiness. Furthermore, research indicates that gratitude may even have a lasting positive impact on the brain and overall mental health.[1]

3. Successful people forgive others. Unsuccessful people hold grudges.

As a human being, you have likely been offended or hurt by others plenty of times. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold a grudge. Let it go.

Note that forgiving someone does not equate to giving up your boundaries (which are very important) or even admitting that the offending party is right. You should choose to let go for your own peace of mind.

4. Successful people track progress. Unsuccessful people just criticize.

Some kinds of criticism, such as constructive criticism, are good for personal and professional development. The kind of criticism I’m talking about is the pessimistic, nagging, unhelpful variety. This is the kind of criticism in play when you are unfairly harsh to yourself or others.

Toss unfounded criticisms aside and consider tracking your “wins” or your progresses, no matter how small. Take mental notes or keep a progress journal.

If you have a solid sense of what you have achieved, you will be less tempted to be hard on yourself.

5. Successful people share information, data and ideas. Unsuccessful people hoard.

If you have useful information or generate brilliant ideas on the regular, your first instinct may be to keep it all to yourself for personal gain and solo recognition.

Instead of hoarding bright ideas, share them with your team. Your talents will be on display for the team, and the team will be able to support you and make your ideas a reality.

6. Successful people are humble. Unsuccessful people talk more than they listen.

Humility is key. The ability to listen to other people, really listen and understand, is essential to success in both work and relationships — and to listen you have to be humble.

Everyone has experienced the frustration of being in a one-sided conversation. When someone approaches you with a question or concern, put your own world aside for just a moment and give them the kindness of your full attention.

Advertising

7. Successful people take risks. Unsuccessful people take the easy way out.

The next time your heart is racing and you want to walk away, consider embracing the risk. You never know what might happen if you take a chance.

Embracing risks looks like accepting the speaking engagement even though it seems a little scary. Success takes the courageous route, not the easy route.

8. Successful people learn, improve and read every day. Unsuccessful people stop learning.

Instead of binge-watching a show tonight, save an hour before bed to read a book and expand your mind.

Unsuccessful people are afraid to be flexible – they don’t challenge themselves to learn new things. Avoid this pitfall by exposing yourself to new thoughts and ideas every day.

9. Successful people handle problems well. Unsuccessful people act before they think.

The next time you run into a problem or even an emergency, try to work through your initial panic reaction with a few deep breaths.

Instead of acting rashly, think through your next actions as quickly but as logically as you can.

Learning to handle problems thoughtfully is an absolutely essential tool in the successful person’s toolbox (that’s you!).

10. Successful people accept responsibility for their failures. Unsuccessful people blame others.

Along with a previous tip about humility, this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever learn to do – but also the most rewarding. When you’ve failed, you must fight the urge to pass the blame. Successful people are able to fail honestly and gracefully.

And, hey, don’t feel bad about failing. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed too many times to count. It’s all a part of the process.

You can check out this article for more tips on how to fail well:

Advertising

How Failure Helps You To Succeed and Grow

11. Successful people work with passion and commitment. Unsuccessful people have a sense of entitlement.

A short and sweet lesson for you:

You should never expect to achieve the things you want without working hard.

Follow your passion and stay committed to pursuing it. Work hard and stick to your habits every day. You’ll earn your reward.

12. Successful people spend time with the right people. Unsuccessful people think they already know it all.

A lot of people miss out on useful relationships and information sharing because they think they can do it all alone.

Spend time with people who inspire you, spur you to be a better person, and remind you that you can’t go it alone.

13. Successful people make to-do lists and maintain proper life balance. Unsuccessful people waste their time.

Ah, time management. Unsuccessful people never master the art of organization and planning.

Here are a few tips for you when it comes to time management:

  • Make to-do lists. Seriously, this will help you. Make time to do it every morning, evening, or whenever you are able.
  • Keep track of your time. Are you happy with the way you are currently balancing things? What changes can you make?
  • Keep a calendar full of your long-term goals (see next tip).

14. Successful people write down goals and think long term about their burning desires. Unsuccessful people get distracted every day.

Why is it so important to keep a long-term goal calendar? Here’s the deal:

The things you are passionate about today need a backbone.

Advertising

Give your passionate ideas sustainability by writing down goals and staying on task instead of succumbing to distraction.

15. Successful people compliment others. Unsuccessful people try to bring others down to their level.

There is no greater confidence than saying “no” to sudden jealous or envious feelings and choosing to sincerely admire someone’s talents instead.

Unsuccessful people live in a world driven by competition, but successful people know that building people up is far more rewarding than bringing them down.

16. Successful people want others to succeed. Unsuccessful people secretly hope they fail.

In the same vein as the point above, this tip is all about good intentions.

Care for the people around you. Encourage them toward their successes. Hoping that others fail will not help you at all.

17. Successful people know their purpose and mission. Unsuccessful people don’t know what they want to be.

The last thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is one of the most important:

Keep your mission in mind.

Don’t be swayed to and fro by passing emotions and events. Know who you are and pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

Final thoughts

Above all, stay confident. Truly believe that you can be and are successful. Strive to prove it in your day-to-day habits and activities!

What are you waiting for? Choose one of the habits above and get started today.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Berkeley University of California: How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

Read Next