How bad do you want things? Quite bad? Pretty bad? Real bad? Can’t control how much you do?
Wanting something so bad you can’t control yourself is a simple definition of what grit is.
However, as author of the book “Grit”, Angela Duckworth said, “Grit isn’t just working incredibly hard. That’s only part of it.”.
But more precisely:
“Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.”
Just like a relationship, while falling in love is crucial to actually start, what really matters, in the long run, is staying in love.
Grit is a combination of Passion and Perseverance. We could also simply say it is equivalent to Obsession but I personally believe obsession goes even further, adding the aspect of “crazy” in it (in a good sense).
However, you can’t be fully obsessed with something until you’ve built a gritty character, so let’s start with that.
Yes, you can build it
Angela states there are 2 ways to create grit. From within and from outside.
Here’s a quick sum-up of those:
There are a few steps to go through.
First, you need to have an interest in something particular. This means spending time on yourself to find a self-awareness which will let you find what triggers you, what comes back regularly.
Then, you need to practice on that specific something. There are two types: deliberate practice and flow.
Deliberate practice is effortful and works as preparation to get to the flow state as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi means it. Flow feels effortless and appears spontaneous even to the one in it.
However, how bad you want something will impact directly the perseverance you will find in tough times. This is why you need to find a reason, a sense of purpose. Only a real, strong, sense of purpose will make you stick to it.
For this, you can reflect on the impact you’re already doing and how to expand it or thinking about how you can change your current actions to improve in small but meaningful ways.
William Damon, author of “The path to purpose”, advises “finding inspiration in a purposeful role model”.
A great way to do so, he continues, is to image yourself decades later and try to figure out what would be important for you then. You can also think of someone who inspires you to be a better person and find out why they do.
Finally, a growth mindset is needed to have grit.
A growth mindset consists of knowing we can all improve by working on something. No matter what it is, if enough time is spent on it, you could get the required level.
This will pile on the sense of purpose and let you become able to go through all kinds of adversity.
Of course, none of these steps is easy and each will require some work to be really properly apprehended.
It is much easier to explain how you can build it from outside but also much more difficult to willingly develop it this way.
Indeed, developing grit from outside basically consists of getting yourself in a gritty culture.
This can mean taking part in activities where the mentality of people is gritty, being brought up by parents who want to bring that gritty mindset in you, or even a teacher who sparks this will in you.
Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.
Once again, grit is a combination of passion and perseverance.
Just having passion won’t allow you to go through hard times. Just having perseverance might make you keep on going into a wall.
Creating a balanced positive mindset with those two aspects will be the first step to a new, better life. So get on with it and be gritty!