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Psychologist Angela Duckworth, in a TED talk which has garnered over 23 million views, defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."
Duckworth also suggests that grit is a strong predictor of success more than IQ. She spent years studying various populations — including cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — to understand why high achievers are so successful.
"Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them," Duckworth explains.
But what does it mean to have grit?
To have grit, one must have the courage and strength to work on their goals and follow through all of their commitments, no matter the obstacles they are faced with.
According to Caroline Adams Miller, author of "Getting Grit," grit is motivated by ikigai, a Japanese term which means, "that which I wake up for."
Simply put, to have grit means to be driven by purpose.
"When we have a purpose that is authentic and connected directly to what we want to pursue for its own intrinsic value, it fills us with the passion that supports us through difficult times and challenging setbacks," Miller says.
According to Duckworth, they are:
Your ability to manage fear of failure is a predictor of success. People who have grit understand that there are valuable lessons in failure and that perseverance is requisite for achievement. Theodore Roosevelt, in one of his most famous speeches called "The Man in The Arena":
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”
To be conscientious to be careful, thorough, and meticulous. A conscientious individual is achievement-oriented. He works tirelessly, tries to do a good job, and completes the task at hand.
This entrepreneurial trait means that you are intentional in your actions and that others can depend on you to get the job done.
Duckworth says that "… achievement is the product of talent and effort, the latter a function of the intensity, direction, and duration of one’s exertions towards a long-term goal."
This brings to mind a popular statement Malcolm Gladwell made in his 2007 best selling book, "Outliers." He says that optimal success requires a keen focus on goals and lots and lots of practice ... about 10,000 hours of it.
But practice must have purpose. That is why it is important to have long-term goals. They provide the meaning and value to your efforts. In turn, these efforts cultivate drive, sustainability, passion, courage, stamina, and, of course, grit.
To be able to continually face the challenges and rise up from every failure, one must have resilience.
Futurist and author Andrew Zolli, in his book, "Resilience, Why Things Bounce Back," defines resilience as, "the ability of people, communities, and systems to maintain their core purpose and integrity among unforeseen shocks and surprises."
To be resilient is to be optimistic, creative, and confident. When one is resilient, they gain the belief that they can find meaningful purpose in life and influence their surroundings and the outcome of events. A resilient person believes that positive and negative experiences will lead to learning and growth.
People with grit don’t seek perfection. They instead strive for excellence.
While we are generally bound by standards, perfection is someone else’s perception of an ideal. Perfection is nothing but an illusion.
Excellence, on the other hand, is an attitude. Excellence is simply an ongoing quest for improvement while allowing room for disappointment.
These short-term goals must be specific and challenging. You can start by creating a roadmap to the long-term goal, which gives you a week-by-week breakdown of the smaller goals.
Distractions, also known as the "shiny-object syndrome," occur when an entrepreneur keeps shifting focus on new ideas which distract from the main goal. Follow a specific path and learn to trust this path.
To have grit means to be prepared and accept any challenge with passion. People with grit are not afraid to be short on resources, but they do whatever it takes to make their business work. With slow and patient devotion, any disadvantage can be leveraged.
People with grit don't care about the numbers. They are not bothered by the chances their business might fail. These people keep on going even if failure occurs.
According to Omer Shai, Chief Marketing Officer of Wix.com, "Starting something isn’t enough. The ability to persevere and be resilient after that something has been started is the true stamp of an entrepreneur. It's the people who stay the course and continue to invest in developing their enterprise beyond the starting point that should be the model for successful entrepreneurship. "
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