Grit and You
This article is an extension of my previous article The Gritty Classroom, where I discuss what Grit is and what it looks like in the classroom. If you haven't read it, please take a moment to read it now. If you are not a teacher, this article is still for you. In this article, I will be discussing how you can apply Grit to your own life both professionally and personally. So hold on because the next few minutes of reading will change your life if you let it.
The Grit Scale
I believe the best way to teach Grit is by living it ourselves. Whether you want to teach it to students, coworkers, or even your own children, you will need to model it within your own behavior. So let's find out your Grit score. It only takes a minute. Visit Angela Duckworth's Grit Scale to take a short ten question test to see where you fall on the Grit scale.
My score is a 3.0 meaning I scored higher than 20% of American adults. This is not where I want to be on the scale and I am determined to move higher on the scale by developing new, grittier habits. How can this be done? Let me explain how I think this score can change.
The 4 Factors of Grit
In my previous article, I explained what the four factors of Grit are. I am going to quickly review them here and show you how you can apply them and make them work for you. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, the following will require personal reflection.
Passion is something you are interested in and would do even if there was no financially rewarding outcome. Passion comes from what brings you joy and fulfillment. This can include multiple things from your job to your hobbies. So what is your passion story? Write down the answer to the following questions to create a picture of what you are passionate about.
What is something that gets you excite about life?
What helps you get out of bed in the morning (besides coffee)?
What do you lose track of time doing?
You will know when you find your passion because you will have an overwhelming sense of desire to go do it right now. You will feel it physically as energy pulses through your body. If you can't find it at this moment, that is okay. Take time to explore different things and pay attention to how they make you feel. You will find your passion if you just pay attention to how things make you feel.
It is no surprise that practice is a factor of grit. The more time you spend on a task the more you will improve, period. However, what you are practicing and and how you are practicing matters. If you are practicing bad habits, you will get better at those habits. If your practice is working towards a goal, you will achieve that goal. Even so, Duckworth explains it is also the type of practice that is important. Sustained deliberate practice is the best way to get results. Explore your practice habits by answering the following questions.
What is something you practice now? Music? Sports? Cooking? Sarcasm? Procrastination (Something I seem to practice often)?
What is something you have practiced so hard it has become a habit?
What is a major accomplishment you have achieved? What practice did you have to do to attain that goal?
What are you willing to deliberately practice starting today?
Deliberate practice isn't about just doing the same task over and over again. Deliberate practice requires effort every time you work on the task. It's about doing the hard stuff that makes you feel like quitting every time you do it. This type of practice is difficult and is usually accompanied by feelings of apprehension until one day it is a little less difficult and the feelings of dread are a bit less than they were before. Intentional practice is a critical component of achievement.
Purpose Drives Perseverance
Purpose is the "why" behind everything you do. The stronger the "why," the more energy you are willing to engage in sustained action towards your goal. Perseverance is required for any goal worth achieving. There is a popular quote that states "the best views come after the hardest climb," yet the promise of that view keeps the climber moving forward. Setting goals for intentional growth will always be challenging and the reason behind the goal needs to be compelling. Examine your own purpose behind your perseverance by reflecting on the following questions.
When was a time you kept going even when you wanted to quit? School? Work? Relationship? Running an extra mile?
What was the "why" behind your perseverance?
What is the purpose behind your current passion?
Take some time to really explore your purpose behind your passion. Purpose usually stems from a desire to provide value to others. Identify who it is you are working for and keep them in mind when you encounter difficult obstacles that are inevitably going to arise on your journey of accomplishing your goal.
Nothing can be accomplished without the belief that it is possible. There are many things you accomplish on a daily basis because you have the confidence you can get it done. On the other hand, there are things you are afraid to try because you do not have the proof you can actually do it. Everything you do today was once something you had to do for the very first time. Now it is something you do all the time because you believe you can. Belief is probably the most important component of Grit. If you don't believe you can do it, you will not engage in the other three factors of Grit. What are your beliefs?
What do you believe you can do?
Do you believe you are or can be "gritty?"
Do you believe you are and exceptional teacher? Parent? Spouse? Employee? Employer?
Do you believe you can make a difference in this world?
A.A. Milne once said, "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." This is true of every person including you. What are you going to start believing about yourself today?
This is your moment for change. What is next for you? Look back at your reflections after reading this article and set goals that encompasses your passion. Write your goal down and then start planning. What deliberate practice do you need to do to accomplish this goal? How long are you willing to work towards this goal? What is your reason for this goal? Finally, write your goal as if you have already achieved it to create the belief behind the success of the goal. You got this. I believe in you. Now go change the world.