There are one thousand and one recipes to success, our modern culture will have you believe.
Between talent, our passions, IQ and educational attainment, the path to success isn’t as straight-laced as it used to be.
Even kids as young as 10-years old can become CEOs of their very own company. Steve Jobs dropped out of college, only to end up with the biggest tech company in the world.
Clearly, you can pave your own unique way into making your dreams a reality.
However, there is one thing that can significantly affect your ability to achieve your goals. And that is this thing called grit.
As it turns out, a person’s intelligence or talent isn’t the number one indicator of your ability to succeed.
According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, author of popular book Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success:
“There are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….
“Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
What is grit, exactly?
“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.
“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
In short, grit is your willingness to conquer countless challenges ahead of you, instead of avoiding them.
Your grit is what will separate you from other more intelligent or more talented competitors. It’s the one thing that will keep you going when everyone else has already given up.
Your talent and IQ can give you a boost, that much is true. But passion and perseverance are what will fuel you to exert the most effort into attaining your success.
Because according to Ducksworth, your effort is the defining factor that sets you apart from the rest.
She even came up with two equations:
- talent x effort = skill
- skill x effort = achievement
The good news is: you can develop and build grit.
“80% of success is showing up.”
– Woody Allen
Now that we’ve established that grit is the predictor of success, what are the ways you can build yours?
1. Pursue your interests.
The truth is, it can be challenging (arguably, even impossible) to stick to your goals if they don’t fascinate you.
So here’s a protip: find something interesting.
And that doesn’t mean just sitting around thinking about interesting things. Go out and find things that might interest you. Sign up for classes. Read up on things. Find what gives you adrenaline. Go out and look for the things that give you meaning.
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
And when you do, pursue them. Learn more, delve deeper, and challenge yourself.
Remember, success is not a sprint – but a marathon. Develop your mental stamina.
2. Practice makes perfect.
People with grit have one special thing: they always want to improve. No matter what it takes. And regardless if they are good at it or not.
It’s your hard work that will make you competent. And the truth is, we are more likely to stick to things we are good at.
So when you’ve found the things you are passionate about, do the work. Try to get better at it every day.
In fact, try to compete with yourself. Set harder goals and do better than you did yesterday.
Practice one hour more. Meditate longer. Run one extra mile. And stick with it even if it becomes boring.
Again, this helps you build more mental stamina.
3. Surround yourself with gritty people.
You’ve probably heard that the people you surround yourself with can hugely influence your mood and behavior.
So much so that when you spend enough time with them, you end up doing the things they do and even how they do them. Their attitude and values will eventually rub off on you.
When you surround yourself with lazy people, you become lazy. When you surround yourself with gritty people – over time, you become grittier.
And you continue to do so because this positive kind of peer pressure only drives you on a regular basis.
4. Have a higher purpose.
Pursuing your interests is not enough. It only fuels your passion for certain things.
But grit is about having that invincible force that pushes you without limit. And that is only acquired through having meaning.
It’s about chasing after something bigger than yourself.
The most gritty people are the ones who are connected to a higher purpose. Their goals don’t just serve them, but those around them as well.
So take a step back. How can your interests affect people in a positive way? How can you help more?
Once you know your work’s meaning, it becomes more enjoyable.
But most of all, it becomes more fulfilling – in the most incredible ways.
5. Believe in yourself.
Part of being gritty is believing that you can. Period.
Otherwise, you limit yourself into believing that your skills or talents are fixed. You start believing that you have limits, that there is no room for improvement.
But research shows that humans have the ability to rewire and shape our brains. How? Through effort and experience.
So cultivate a positive mindset that you can do anything. Go after every task as if you can complete them. Chase after your dreams believing that you can achieve them through hard work.
Because honestly, you can.
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