What is grit?

How to not give up- develop your gritOne of the most recent and brilliant researchers of grit is Angela Duckworth, and she defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”.   It’s the perseverance of effort that allows us to overcome setbacks and obstacles, and it’s the passion component of grit that gives us the motivation and driving force to realise our goals.

If we want to maintain our motivation and determination as we experience failures and adversity, and keep moving towards long term goals, then grit is the capacity we want to develop.  It is not a fixed characteristic, which means that it is plastic and able to be cultivated and grown (and so just up our alley for Courageous Living!  Hence we learn about and develop our grit in Bravery School)

How do we develop our grit?

Duckworth identifies 4 aspects that we can work on to grow grittier.  It starts with an interest, and then we need to practice, followed by purpose, and then hope.

1. Interest

It all starts with a spark of interest in an activity or topic. This can then be fostered into a passion and is what feeds our perseverance.

So what do you enjoy that you can foster into an interest?

2. Practice

Then we need to practice. And the grittiest people do a specific type of practice called deliberate practice with the intention of continuous improvement.

Deliberate practice involves:

  1. Setting a stretch goal around just one specific element of the passion that we are aiming to improve at.
  2. Giving that practice session our undivided attention and a strong effort, striving to reach our goal.
  3. Seek feedback as soon as possible, around the specific aspect we are working on, and with the intention to focus on what we did wrong in order to fix it. And incorporate this information into the next practice session.
  4. Repeating this until we reach a level of mastery.
  5. And then setting the next stretch goal, around the next specific aspect to be improved.

Making this type of deliberate practice a habit, and fostering an attitude towards it of a meaningful and worthy endeavour, will help improve our preparation abilities to become grittier

What helps with this attitude is next aspect of grit, which is purpose.

3. Purpose

People who are grittier are also more purposeful in life.  As in, they are aware of what they personally want to get from the long-term goal, and their goal is something that will help others.

Purpose, like interest, is not something that just appears to us one moment – it is an aspect that is cultivated and grown.

So we can discover a problem that the world needs solving that we want to improve and are willing to put effort into solving for others.  And in our lives right now we can also cultivate more purpose by reflecting on how what we do right now, be it in work or our spare time, makes a difference to the world around us.

4. Hope

Gritty people are also very hopeful.  This is not the Pollyanna blindly positive outlook.  It is hope in the sense of a belief and an expectation that our own efforts can improve our futures.

This hope is made up of

  • The Growth Mindset – where we believe that our intelligence is not fixed, but rather can be developed and improved by our own efforts of learning
  • Learned Optimism – which is our style of explaining a setback in a constructive way, and
  • Resilience – our capacity to bounce back after a misfortune.

We feed our hope by our mindset of wanting to get better and improve, with optimistic self-talk, and with asking for help from encouraging people in our lives. We also exercise our hope by finding the balance between feeling supported, and yet still challenged at the same time (that stretch goal and useful feedback).

Gritty People

As we internalize the way gritty people do things in these 4 aspects, so it becomes the way we do things.

We will find ourselves asking “what would a gritty person do in this situation?”  Or even more encouragingly:

“What does someone like me do in a situation like this?”


Next Steps?

Want to develop your grit in an intentional manner? Consider joining Bravery School – starting 9th January 2023.  Among the many mindset and life skills we develop, the ones mentioned above that enhance our grit-ability are:

  • goal setting
  • what motivates us
  • our purpose and passion
  • how to overcome fear of failing, and learn from our failures
  • deliberate practice for confidence building
  • growth mindset
  • learned optimism
  • giving and receiving effective feedback
  • resilience
  • how to be courageous

Contact me to discuss! And check out my Black Friday offer!