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What is Grit? Why Does Grit Matter?

Recent studies have shown how important GRIT is for future success. Reaching a significant long-term 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?

What is “grit”?

We’re not focusing on the literal, physical 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 quality of grit refers not to the abrasiveness of this rough material, but to the tenacity and traction true grit provides (to keep you from sliding backwards) in order to complete a goal.

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”. Grit is what helps you complete long-term goals; the pursuit of 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: Grit, Curiosity, and the Power of Character” and “Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America”. He frequently quotes Angela Duckworth’s work. 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 vital 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. If you’re worried that you’re not smart enough to succeed, remember that grit can get you farther than just being smart!

Essentially, if one does not have grit, they’re likely to quit. To get through all the steps necessary to graduate from college, you will need to face some measure of difficulty and have the patience to get through all steps in pursuit of that goal.

Fortunately, the development of grit does not need to be exceptionally difficult. Click the link for the next post on grit: “An Easy Way to Develop Grit: The Cheat Code to Success“.

Career Prep Academy is a service of CrossRoads. Call us at 317-842-8881 for more help with developing grit to achieve your academic goals.