Optimism is often seen to be the reason entrepreneurs start businesses, but optimism is not what makes them successful.
Many success stories have a similar classical theme: the “overnight success” built over years, where large doses of determination and persistence save the day. So, psychologists are now paying attention to “grit,” a belief that failure can be overcome and a willingness to conquer challenges, instead of avoiding them.
Grit might be the secret ingredient we have all been searching for in our lives and careers.
What Is Grit?
To make sure that we’re all on the same page, here is a definition of grit, developed by psychologist and researcher Angela Duckworth:
“Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals.” – Angela Duckworth
Grit is both a trait and a skill. It’s the ability to continue in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. It’s not the kind of passion around having intense emotions or obsession, but rather about having direction and commitment. When you have this type of passion, as mentioned in my previous blog on two types of passion, you can stay committed to a long-term goal or task that may be difficult or boring.
Grit is also about perseverance. In plain language, it means to stick with it and continue to work hard even after experiencing a difficulty or failure. The ability to be gritty is an essential component of success independent of and beyond what talent and intelligence contribute.
“Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring.” – Angela Duckworth
Why Is Grit Important?
Grit, independent of and beyond what talent and intelligence contribute, is a driver of achievement and success. We can all agree that being naturally smart and talented are great, but to truly do well and thrive, we need the ability to persevere. Without grit, being smart and talented may be nothing more than unmet potential.
Duckworth’s research confirmed that it wasn’t IQ and natural talent that made the biggest difference in who was successful and who wasn’t – it was more about effort. Duckworth came up with two equations to explain this concept:
1. Talent x effort = skill >>> 2. Skill x effort = achievement.
Duckworth explains that talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what you obtain when you take your acquired skills and use them. Really, effort counts twice as much for what we want to achieve. Our potential is one thing, however, what we do with it is another.
She further explains: “The attraction of thinking that people are gifted or special in a way we aren’t, call it the “X” factor or call it “genius,” is derived from our insecurity, really. Because if I say that Einstein’s a genius, then you don’t have to compete with him because he is not in your category. When you say “You know what? A lot of that success comes from dedicated hours of practice and thought,” then you are a little bit responsible to see how well you can do.”
Duckworth challenges that by having confidence in grit, which is about believing that personal and professional success is largely in our own hands.
How To Develop Grit?
As mentioned earlier, grit is both a trait and a skill. This means you can still grow and strengthen your grit. It’s a skill that can be taught and trained over time.
Here are three ways to develop and strengthen your grit:
1. Embrace Challenges And Failures That Comes With Passion
It’s going to be difficult and you are going to want to give up, and a great lot of people will.
Passion starts with loving what you do, which doesn’t mean that all work is enjoyable. Everyone has aspects of their work that they don’t enjoy, but they are committed to the endeavour with a growth-mindset.
Gritty individuals embrace challenges and failures that are thrown their way, only to set them up for a greater comeback. They show their perseverance through the daily discipline of trying to do things better than yesterday, again and again.
2. Practice, Practice More, Practice Forward
Followed up it’s practising. Practice means focused challenges that lead to mastery. What Duckworth explains is that the work must be in the form of deliberate practice. The basic elements include:
- A clearly defined stretch goal;
- Full concentration and effort;
- Immediate and informative feedback;
- Repetition with reflection and refinement.
Constant development of passion depends on the belief that your work matters. Interest without purpose is almost impossible to sustain.
And developing purpose requires you to connect your own interest in your work with the well-being of others. For some, the motivation of purpose develops early. For others, it happens after seeing the reaction of others to their efforts. Along with every step of the way, it is vital to keep going even in the face of setback and doubts.
3. Join A Great Team
If you want to improve your grit, you can certainly focus as an individual which is perfectly fine. But, to become truly great at what you do, join a great team. Many psychological experiments have confirmed how quickly individuals change their action or thinking to fall in line with a group, and often without conscious awareness.
Over time and under the right conditions, culture can positively shape character.
Grit takes time, and many people want instant gratification. The cost of being the best and pushing towards meaningful work takes a lot of sacrifices, which many people are not ready for. The whole point is that the positive mindset needed to get to the long-term goal can be developed over time.
By maintaining the effort and interest is what you needed to finish hard. Sometimes, you have to let go of something good to open a door something great. The stubborn refusal to quit in the face of obstacles builds the resilience you need to succeed in life.
Originally published at ye-chen.com.