Grit matters because it bridges the gap between raw talent and potential and achieving success.
Natural ability and intelligence can only get you so far. Without the drive and determination to follow through, your potential will remain untapped.
Duckworth, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania at the time, studied students from West Point and children in the National Spelling Bee to predict which students and children would excel and which would drop out. She and her research team also looked for the same predictors in teachers at the end of the school year and sales teams. In each of these environments, grit was the ultimate predictor of success.
The simple truth is that achieving anything worthwhile requires effort, and you will face obstacles along the way.
Grit sets you up for future success by giving you the strength to go over, around, or straight through those obstacles.
As Duckworth notes in her book, “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
This is good news for all of us since it is empowering to know that we can achieve anything with enough grit.
What are the 5 characteristics of grit?
The idea and definition of grit might seem vague. We know it’s essential to keep moving forward and progressing through challenging times. But what goes into being gritty and what is it made of? The specific recipe for grit is as diverse as people are, but these five characteristics can be found in most gritty individuals:
Perseverance is defined as a continued effort to do or achieve something despite the difficulty. So it may come as no surprise that it is a leading characteristic in grittier individuals. Whether it is finding work-life balance, learning a new technical skill, or transitioning into a leadership role, perseverance is crucial to keep growing. Without this trait, individuals are more likely to give up prematurely than put in the hard work needed to achieve their goals.
Resilience helps us bounce back when we fail or face challenges that seem too tough to overcome. Developing resilience can help you better manage stress and recover more quickly from setbacks. True grit is supported by resilience. When times get rough, it is important to have an effective self-care practice that builds resilience to ensure you’re progressing in a way that maintains your health.
Having the courage to fail is closely tied to being gritty. Fear of failure can halt progress before we even get close to it. This is amplified when the circumstances become more challenging. Grittier people will take on initiatives that scare them, despite their fear. And this deliberate practice is supported by their growth mindset and desire to learn – even through failure.
It is harder to stay motivated without a strong desire or passion toward your end goal. Taking time to reflect and understand what is important to you and why is an important step in creating goals for the long and short-term. Grit then comes from being driven by this passion, rooted in your values.
Conscientiousness is often thought of as working tirelessly to do a good job, following the rules, and doing what is right. In this context, however, it has a slightly different meaning. When discussing this characteristic as it relates to grit, the value really comes in planning and following through on commitments. Staying motivated to tackle hard things because they’re necessary for long-term success.