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What is Grit? Why Does Grit Matter?

Recent studies have shown how important GRIT (tenacity, perseverance, etc.) is for future success. Reaching a significant goal generally requires a great deal of work, risk of failure, and the resolve to carry on in the face of adversity.

In this post, we will answer the following questions:

  • What is “grit”?
  • Why does grit matter?

Fortunately, developing grit doesn’t need to be difficult.

What is “grit”?

We’re not focusing on the literal, original definition of grit. The small particles of rocks or sand which provide traction to get your car out of a snow bank is not our focus, but for our purposes, the actual quality of grit refers not to the abrasiveness of this rough material, but to the tenacity and traction true grit provides in order to complete a goal.

If you’ve ever heard of the term “gritting your teeth”, it refers to the kind of courage one needs in order to complete a difficult or unpleasant task.

Grit is an essential part of achieving long-term goals.

According to Psychologist Angela Duckworth (who has created a self-assessment for grit), it is:

“ the tendency to sustain interest and effort in pursuing long-term goals, and self control, the regulation of behavioral, emotional and attentional impulses.”

Duckworth contrasts grit to self-control, making the distinction that self-control helps in the battle against short-term temptations, which she calls “hourly temptations”. So, grit differs as it is what helps you complete long-term goals; the pursuit if challenges over the course of years.

She has also called grit “perseverance and passion for long-term goals”.

If you are unable to view the video, or would like more information about this video at the TEDTalks site, click here.

Another big name in “grit” is Paul Tough, author of “How Children Succeed” and “Whatever it Takes”. He greatly admires Duckworth’s work, and frequently quotes her work as well. He has defined grit as one of the non-cognitive skills that make up a person’s character, and the persistence to pursue long-term goals.

Why does grit matter?

The reason grit is so essential to achieving long term goals is that it’s necessary to overcome adversity. If one cannot cope with adversity or any setbacks on the way to a long-term goal, there is a tendency to quit.

In Paul Tough’s work, he frequently notes that grit and other characteristics are more malleable and are far more meaningful for future success than intelligence.

Essentially, if one does not have grit, they’re likely to quit. In order to achieve a significant goal (such as graduating from college), you will need to face some measure of difficulty and have the patience to get through all steps in the pursuit of that goal.

Fortunately, the development of grit does not need to be exceptionally difficult. Click here for my next post on “How to Make the Hard Work of a Long Term Goal as Fun as Playing a Video Game”.

Contact Career Prep Academy at 317-641-4677 for more help with developing grit and achieving your academic goals.

Exploring what “grit” is, why it matters, and how you can use it to achieve your goals…

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