Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Quite often, we believe that you need to be super-intelligent or work incredibly hard to achieve your goals and objectify success in whatever way you define or measure it. However, there are many people who become successful and even filthy rich despite having low IQ and not working for long hours. You may find it absurd, but this is actually true. As stated by Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist and author at Ohio State University ‘s Center for Human Resource Research, you don’t because rich just because you are rich simply because your IQ has no relationship to your wealth. Moreover, being smart does not in any way automatically protect you from getting into financial difficulties. So what determines whether you will succeed or not? What sets those who succeed and those who don’t apart?
Well, the reason why some people are able to fulfill their goals and become prosperous despite not working as much as the society claims one needs to for becoming successful is because they have grit. Yes, grit is precisely what you need to accomplish all that you desire and make your own mark in this world.
In order to develop grit, you need to understand the essence of it and know what true grit really is in order to become completely sure of the things you need to do to develop this amazing trait. Let us uncover grit to understand what it is and its characteristics.
According to psychologists, grit is the special quality that makes you willing and ready to commit yourself to your long-term goals and pursue them despite any adversity that may come your way. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines grit in terms of behaviors as having a firm character and an indomitable spirit, which means that gritty people have a resolute character and stay firm on the decisions they make.
Angela Duckworth, a renowned American psychologist has researched well on the subject and made many discoveries on grit. She states that to have grit means you have the passion for a goal you pursue and you have perseverance to go after it in spite of any challenge that may obstruct your path. She also states that the lack of grit is the reason why many people who test incredibly high for talent fail to reach and fulfill their potential. On the other hand, many people, who don’t test high for talent, but are equipped with grit, end up overachieving.
Although Duckworth does believe that the true essence of this amazing quality is still elusive, she has been successful in digging out some prominent and major characteristics of grit that you need to possess in order to become truly determined and tenacious. Let us find out what those are.
Here are the important characteristics of grit that you MUST have in order to do what you will and fulfill every goal that you set.
1: Courage and Bravery
Although courage is a very hard to measure element, it has a direct relation with grit. The more courageous you are, the grittier you become. Being courageous means you have the ability to mitigate your fear of failing at things and aren’t scared of moving forward despite all the hardships that come your way. The super-gritty people aren’t frightened to tank; rather, they embrace all their fears as an inevitable part of the process. Therefore, if you are gritty, you understand that to accomplish your goals, you need to go through defeat at some point in your life and you are also aware of the fact that you will find lots of valuable lessons in failure. Moreover, you will understand that the susceptibility of persistence is indeed a pre-requisite for high accomplishment.
Teddy Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, believed to be one of the grittiest persons ever in history, described a brave and gritty man in the following words: ‘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 strived 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.’
Hence, being brave and having the nerve to face and fight your fears is indeed a pre-requisite for being gritty.
According to Angela Duckworth, conscientiousness is one of the traits that that are most closely linked with grit. There are two kinds of conscientious people: the achievement and goal oriented one and the other type is the self-controlling type. If you are goal and achievement oriented, you would stick to your mission until you accomplish, but if you aren’t achievement oriented, you would just show up for the practice and wouldn’t have the drive to move forward and actually fulfill your goal. Duckworth’s research shows that you need to be conscientious to the extent that you chase your goal until you achieve it. You don’t only need to do something regular, rather, you need to be meticulous to an extent that you hunt your goal till the last step.
On your incredibly long haul to accomplishment and greatness, you will stumble and fall down, and you will have to put yourself back on your proverbial horse to eventually meet your goal. But what’s that one thing that provides you with the power and strength to get yourself back on track? According to author and futurist Andrew Zolli, that one thing is ‘resilience.’ He describes resilience as the capability to maintain and stick to your core purpose as well as maintain your integrity upon encountering unexpected surprises and shocks.
Resilience is a unique combination of creativity, confidence, and optimism, which together give you the power to reappraise different situations as well as regulate your emotions. Your confidence gives you the belief that you can influence your surroundings as well as the outcome of different events. Your creativity helps you identify your meaningful purpose in your life and your optimism helps you understand that both, negative and positive experiences in life result in continuous growth and learning.
So in essence, the equation turns out to be: Confidence + Creativity + Optimism = Resilience
And when you have resilience, you start to acquire grit as well.
4: Endurance and Setting Long-term Goals
Another prominent characteristic of grit is endurance. You need to have the ability to endure all the adversities thrown your way and stay committed to achieving your long-term goal. In addition to having perseverance, being gritty requires you to set long-term goals and then follow them through.
In his best-seller titled ‘Outliers’, Malcolm Gladwell states that you need to have long-term goals to achieve amazing success in life and when you set a goal, you must chase it to the very end. Moreover, he states that you need to invest long hours in your work and practice what you do best for hours and hours until you completely master it for only then you will be able to eliminate all the obstructions that come with your goal and eventually achieve it.
It is important that your practice has some purpose because otherwise you would just be spending lots of time doing an activity for no particular reason, and people who don’t have a purpose and aim in life don’t become successful. This means that to succeed in something, you must have an ultimate goal that you desire to reach. Your lifelong objectives provide you with framework and context to find the value and meaning of your long-term hard work and efforts that help cultivate sustainability, drive, stamina, courage, passion and of course, grit.
You become committed to achieve things you are passionate about. This means that passion is another major characteristic of grit. To become fully dedicated to achieving something, you need to be truly passionate about it because your passion gives you the drive and compelling force to pursue even the most challenging and grueling tasks. Your passion for something motivates you to continue pursuing your long-term goal in spite of all the hindrances and stay devoted to accomplishing it in even the worst-case scenarios. Hence, being passionate about something is essential to become gritty.
6: Achieving Excellence
A notable characteristic of grit is that it makes you pursue excellence. Well, while you may confuse excellence with perfection, the two are quite different. While perfection refers to doing something perfectly, it is often referred to as a myth because even when you do something correctly from every aspect, someone would end up finding some fault with that work since every person is different and has a different perspective to observe and analyze things. This is why gritty people pursue excellence. Their goal is to achieve excellence and not perfection.
Perfection is binary, inflexible, pedantic and unforgiving whereas excellence is quite opposite to it. It is basically an attitude and not some endgame. This word has been derived from ‘Arete’, which is a Greek word, which means fulfilling a purpose. Achieving excellence does not require you to do something perfectly. Rather, it is a forgiving notion that allows you to embrace failure, but still move on to achieve something great. To meet excellence in something, you need to stay committed to it and when you do that, you acquire grit.
So why exactly do you need to be gritty anyway?
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