The Surprising Characteristic You Need to Succeed
- A Defining Factor of Grit is Perseverance: Perseverance in this case is defined by the ability and stamina to go after long-term goals. If you pride yourself on, say, resisting late-night snacks, but change your career goal every time you face a setback, grit is not your forte. Self-control, a more temporary concept, may be. (And yes, it’s possible to have both.)
- You Can’t Have Grit Without a Goal: People who are gritty, Duckworth says, are hard workers who don’t see pursuing their goal as “work.” They value it deeply, believe that good things will come from achieving it, and don’t waste time second-guessing themselves or worrying about what they could be doing instead. In other words, if you find a goal you’re passionate about, the grit may follow.
- There Are Ways to Boost Grit: One may be to practice looking on the bright side. (Think: “Writing that cover letter was great practice for the next job that I’ll want even more!” rather than, “If that employer didn’t want to interview me, no one will!”) Since grit usually involves overcoming obstacle after obstacle, pessimists are less likely to have it. Another may be to commit to committing. According to Duckworth’s research, showing up is indeed half the battle—if not more. “Woody Allen once said that 80% of success in life is just showing up,” she says. “And I think grit inclines individuals to show up for their commitments, and to keep showing up.”
Anna Medaris Miller is the associate editor of Monitor on Psychology and gradPSYCH magazines in Washington, D.C., where she's also been published in The Washington Post and US News & World Report. She is a novice triathlete, passionate University of Michigan alumna, and graduate of American University's Interactive Journalism master’s program. As someone who doesn't let even the smallest of "holidays" go un-celebrated, she's been called “a weird-stuff-o-meter” and takes it as a compliment. Follow her @AnnaMedaris.More from this Author