What is Grit?

Grit is a psychological trait popularized by researcher Angela Duckworth’s bestseller: Grit: The Power of Passion and PerseveranceAs the title suggests grit, “a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal—is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain.”

It is the resilience to keep pursuing your objectives over long periods, even when you are faced with difficulties, failures, or distractions. Duckworth’s research finds that grit is, therefore, more predictive of success than either intelligence or talent alone.

So, of course, grit is good for academic and career success, but that’s not all. Grit is good for just about every area of our lives. I can certainly think of times in my own life when resilience and persistence were my best friends.

Only one example would be the gusto with which I went after my hard and long treatment post-flesh-eating disease. Who knew if I would ever be able to use my right arm again? Who knew if I would even get to keep it? And if I did, who knew if I would be able to drive or work with whatever was left of it? And yet, I was determined that I would. So I could.

Every single one of us has survived everything we have ever been through to date, meaning chances are very good that you have your own examples of how grit helped you in some areas of your own life. For example…

What is Grit Good For?

Here are some areas where grit may have already, or can in the future, help you in your life.

  • Academic Success: Students tend to perform better academically if they can persist through challenging coursework, setbacks, and failures. They are better able to maintain focus and motivation over the long term.
  • Career Achievement: Here too, with career advancement and success, gritty people are more likely to overcome obstacles, take on challenging projects, and stay committed to their career goals.
  • Personal Development: People who are more resilient in the face of adversity, are more likely to bounce back from setbacks and continue working toward personal growth and development.
  • Health and Well-being: Individuals with grit cope better with stress, maintain healthy habits, and persevere through difficult situations, leading to improved overall well-being.
  • Relationships: People with perseverance and commitment are more likely to invest time and effort into maintaining relationships, resolving conflicts, and overcoming relationship challenges.

Can you think of a time when your grit helped you in any of the areas above? And if you think that maybe you could use a little more grit, the good news is that you can grow it, and here is how.

How Can You Grow Grit?

Norwegian pilot study found that participants who took a 35-40 online course grew their innate grit!

“We try to create an ‘I can’ attitude, a belief that they really will succeed. We also want to equip students with strategies that can help them evoke this feeling when they later find themselves in situations where they need it,” says Professor Sigmundsson.

Evoking this feeling over and over again can in itself strengthen the networks in the brain needed to develop greater grit over time.

As I have written about before, it also helps a lot to say “I get to” instead of “I have to” for whatever it is that you might be having trouble sticking with.

And for another easy DIY way to evoke this feeling of ‘I can” over and over again, you can try this:

Pause and Breathe: Take a moment to pause whatever you’re doing. Close your eyes if you feel comfortable, or simply gaze downward

Deep Breaths: Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expand. Exhale slowly through your nose, bringing your belly all the way back in.

Affirmations: Repeat affirmations related to specific tasks or goals you want to accomplish. For example:

“I am fully capable of completing this task with excellence.”

“I am confident in my ability to overcome any challenges that arise.”

“I am ready to take on this challenge and succeed.”

Visualize Success: Picture yourself, having completed the task at hand, feeling confident, focused, and accomplished.

Express Gratitude: Take a moment to express gratitude for the opportunity to work on this task or challenge, and for the skills and resources you have to accomplish it.

Return to the Present: When you’re ready, gently open your eyes, return your focus to present moment, feel the confidence and determination that comes from affirming your ability to succeed.

Practice, practice, practice… this mindfulness exercise whenever you need a motivational boost, or regularly to grow your grit in general for everything that may come your way.

For help with this or something else, Contact Me at [email protected]

With Love,


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About the Author: Madelaine Weiss
Madelaine Claire Weiss (LICSW, MBA, BCC) is a Licensed Psychotherapist, a Board Certified Executive-Career-Life Coach, and bestselling author of “Getting to G.R.E.A.T. 5-Step Strategy for Work and Life.” sfas

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