Chapter 7: GRIT – an Acronym
We’ve been talking about grit all through this book, and about how it involves your ability to do what it takes to achieve success. However, there is a further upgrade to basic grit – GRIT is an acronym that encompasses the four key dimensions to maximizing your grit potential.
G = Growth
Most people think about growth in terms of mindset. However, when considering GRIT, it has been shown that growth isn’t just a mindset, but it’s also your ability to rise above the situation in which you find yourself. It is your capability to seek out new insights and fresh ideas to improve the way you approach challenges and boost your chance of living a successful life.
R = Resilience
When it comes to GRIT, being resilient isn’t just about bouncing back from failure or obstacles. It’s also about your ability to be improved and strengthened by the adversity you face. The aim of the quest is to be able to respond in the best possible way to anything that may occur right at the moment that it strikes. Each time you face adversity, you must ask yourself how you could respond more quickly and more effectively to the situation, harnessing the power of that adversity so you can learn from it in the future.
I = Instinct
Everyone knows somebody who pursues the wrong dreams and goals consistently or who goes about pursuing them in the wrong way. In time, those patterns lead to disappointment and failure. Your instincts are therefore important when it comes to pursuing the correct goals in the right way.
Relentlessness is always powerful, but if that relentlessness is refined, it cannot be beaten. So, step back, reassess the situation and change your strategy whenever necessary to achieve longterm success. You can tap into your natural instincts by regularly asking yourself if you’re still striving for the right goal, or whether a better version of that goal has now presented itself. Ask if you can refine your goal to make it more true and compelling, and whether your current plan of action is truly the best possible way of getting there or whether there are improvements that can be made to your approach to help you achieve success more efficiently.
T = Tenacity
Most people think of unrelenting, persistent effort when they think of the term “grit”. It’s fair to say that virtually everyone who makes noteworthy accomplishments will be zealous in their approach. Yet, tenacity isn’t just about persistence and unrelenting effort. It’s about a single wholehearted push and effort that allows you to dramatically improve your success. It’s about developing strategic tenacity rather than raw perseverance. How can you hone your efforts so that you enhance your progress?
Chapter 8: Grit and Risk-Taking
Is Grit the Same as Taking Risks?
You may think that grit and risk-taking are pretty much the same things. However, is taking risks the driver of your success? While some amount of risk is usually necessary to succeed in any venture – work-related or personal – risk by itself isn’t a sufficient or accurate predictor of success. This is where grit comes into the picture.
As a construct, grit is deeper, more robust and broader than simple risk-taking. It’s all about your ability to do what it takes, even if that is suffering, sacrificing, struggling and stumbling, so you can achieve your goals and ambitions.
The Facets of Grit – Effort, Goal Meeting, Learning, Energy, Problem Solving
Grit can predict your success in a way that risk-taking cannot.
Some or all of grit’s facets can predict the following:
- The level of your effort
- The magnitude of your goals
- The likely completion of your goals
- Your income
- Your health and well-being
- Your learning capacity
- Your energy level
- Your ability to problem solve
- Your optimism
Grit, in short, can predict and influence virtually everything necessary for success.
So, if grit is vital for success, surely, do we all need to just show more grit and grow? Well, the answer to this is yes and no. The key to success lies in the quality of the grit that you demonstrate.
Bad and Good Grit
Successful people are mindful of the effects they have on other people, even when they’re striving their hardest to bring their ideas into fruition. The effect of those efforts will define whether your grit is bad or good.
Bad grit means that you pursue your goals in a way that either unintentionally or intentionally has a detrimental impact on other people. Berating others, burning out your workforce or demoralizing them is a demonstration of bad grit, even if the quest is a noble one.
Good grit, on the other hand, means that you pursue your goals and ambitions in a way that, ultimately, will benefit others as well as yourself. People demonstrating good grit go above and beyond to help others to succeed as well as themselves.
Life is filled with adversity and obstacles, and sometimes, continually pounding at those obstacles isn’t the best course of action. If you never quit but the relentless pursuance of your goals has left you physically and mentally drained and your relationships in tatters, it’s clear that this is not the right kind of grit for success.
People with good grit, conversely, notice that their tactics aren’t working and change their approach. This is the difference between simply failing and failing but then prevailing against adversity. Good grit means you can reassess situations and take new routes whenever necessary so your goals can be achieved.
Bad grit, on the other hand, is stubborn.
The more good grit you can show, the more likely you are to succeed.
Chapter 9: Grit and Personal Wellness
What happens if you lack grit in your life? Evidence has shown that if you lack resilience your mental health can be negatively impacted. But why is this the case? How does grit improve your personal wellness?
How a Lack of Resilience can Negatively Impact Your Mental Wellbeing
If something goes wrong, are you more likely to fall apart or bounce back? If you’ve got resilience, you’re capable of harnessing your inner strength and, thus, rebound from challenges and setbacks that you experience. Job losses, illnesses, traumas, or deaths can all be survived without serious challenge to your mental well-being. On the other hand, if you have no resilience, you may end up feeling victimized, dwelling in problems, becoming overwhelmed, or, even worse, turning to unhealthy coping strategies like alcohol or drugs.
Being resilient doesn’t make your issues go away, however it gives you more ability to find enjoyment in your life despite them, to see beyond those problems and find better ways of handling stress.
Luckily, it’s possible to develop more resilience in your life. This will allow you to adapt to adversity. Yes, you’ll experience pain, grief and anger, but you’ll still be able to function psychologically and physically. Being resilient isn’t just about withstanding something difficult, it’s about getting support from other people and accepting it too.
Resilience helps to protect you from mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It also offsets factors that can increase your chance of developing mental health disorders. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, becoming more resilient boosts your ability to cope.
How can you improve your own resilience? Here are some tips:
Build positive, strong relationships with friends and loved ones so you have acceptance and support in both the bad and good times.
Make each day have meaning. Ensure you do something every day that makes you feel accomplished and purposeful. Set goals that will enable you to look forward with meaning to the future.
Learn from your experiences. Think about how you have coped with problems in your past and consider the strategies and skills which have helped you in difficult times. When you’ve identified your negative and positive behavior patterns you can use this information to guide your behaviors in the future.
Stay hopeful. It isn’t possible to change what’s already happened, but you can look to the future with positivity. Accept and anticipate change so you can adapt more easily to new challenges.
Care for yourself. Pay attention to your feelings and needs. Participate in hobbies and activities you enjoy and include physical activity as part of your everyday routine. Sleep well, eat well, practice relaxation techniques and stress management and you’ll feel more able to cope.
Be proactive. Never ignore problems. Rather, figure out what you need to do, create a plan then take action. While recovery takes time when you experience a loss, trauma or setback, you need to know your situation will improve when you work at resolving it.
Resilience and Happiness
Happiness can be elusive. Most of us grow up believing that material possessions are the key to happiness. Clothing, food and shelter simply aren’t enough to make us feel satisfied. Even if you buy your dream home, that still isn’t sufficient – you begin dreaming about the landscaping or the furniture you desire.
Once each wish is satisfied, more desires raise their heads.
The more you get involved in the idea that you’ll be happy once you’ve got enough possessions, the more you’ll be trapped. You’ll feel jealous of those with more than you, you’ll even take risks to buy things you can’t afford. The more you desire stuff, the less happy you’ll be.
Possessions can’t make you happy. Once your basic needs have been addressed, you cannot buy more happiness – not at any price. Happiness is more about how you respond to your circumstances than the circumstances in which you find yourself.
Your happiness, therefore, depends on the way in which you approach life. Satisfaction isn’t really about getting the things you want, it’s rather about wanting the things you have and learning how to feel content.
Happy people have certain traits that set them apart. They have:
- Good self-esteem. They respect their own value as a person and feel confident about themselves. With a strong sense of their own self-worth, they can cope if times get tough and persist until those times are gone.
- Good self-control. They believe they can control the things that happen to them and that they have control of their own destiny, so they aren’t a victim of fate.
- Optimism. They are hopeful and believe they can succeed whenever they try a new thing. Their glass is always half full.
- Sociability. Happy people are usually outgoing and love being around other people. They engage in social activities and have friends for social support and affection.
Can you become happier? After all, not everybody is an optimistic, confident, extrovert.
Yet, it’s possible to become happier by pretending you have those facets in your personality. Fake it until you make it. By practicing being happy, you can strengthen your ability to become happy, and as you become comfortable acting in this way, this attitude will start to become natural to you. When interacting with others, pretend to be outgoing. You’ll soon find that you can be sociable after all and with this sociability comes greater confidence and self-esteem. All of these things boost your optimism and happiness in the future.
Resilience and Motivation
Resilience allows you to bounce back no matter what emotional, physical, social or financial challenge you face. Resilience means having the ability to change and adapt to your circumstances even if you face tragedy, adversity, trauma, stress and hardship.
Motivation isn’t the same thing as resilience, but it is related to it. Motivation has its basis on inner urges rather than being stimulated as a response to challenge or adversity. Motivation is a need, desire or drive to behave in certain ways so a specific end can be achieved. However, it is linked to resilience because motivation is necessary if you’re going to be a resilient person.
People who are resilient and people who have motivation have similar characteristics and both can be developed in time.
Resilient Versus Non-Resilient People – a Comparison
So, how do resilient people compare with those who lack resilience? There are several comparisons that can be drawn.
- They can control their own destiny. It’s hard to understand ways in which you can control your own destiny since adversity’s very nature takes away control. If you view yourself as being essentially able to control the bad and good things you experience, you can create your own scenarios and options based on foresight, the situation itself, and instinct. This allows you to draw up an alternative plan in anticipation of adversity or even in the midst of it.
- They accept the fight. Humans are naturally predisposed to battle adversity bitterly. The most resilient people find ways of fighting adversity by embracing it. It’s important to learn that it isn’t about how your dreams can be achieved. It’s about learning how you can lead your life in the best possible way. If you do this, your dreams can come true naturally. Accepting the situation in which you find yourself and letting go of that outcome allows you to adapt to circumstances and thrive even when adversity raises its head.
- They can use adversity as a compass. Adversity often comes into your life in order to show you the path to your true destiny. Even the toughest times can serve a higher purpose to make you realize your true goals and the road that you should take. It may seem that you’re being led in a direction that is completely opposite to that which you desired, but resilient people accept that they are traveling this new path and use the adversity they encounter to find a new vision and a new calling that can help others as well as themselves.
- They suffer well. Inherently, adversity will invoke disappointment, suffering and pain. Accepting pain and growing through it all forms a key part of personal growth. Of course, this isn’t easy. Learning how to suffer well is a skill like any other and, therefore, requires ongoing conscious learning and practice.
- They are patient. Patience is a virtue, but it is also a skill that demands practice over and over again. Strength lies in being patient and practicing patience starts with compassion towards other people, even when they hurt you or behave in a negative way as well as gratitude. If you can feel thankful for the things you have, even if your life is turned upside down, you are ready to practice patience.
- They let go. We experience fear as a protective emotion to signal danger so we can prepare for problems and cope with them. Perhaps fear is the main emotion holding us back. We fear failure, loss, the unknown and change. Emotional pain also holds us back from achieving our goals. While other people cause us pain in our lives, we can also cause ourselves pain through our own actions.
There is a physical reaction that we experience to pain and fear. This is known as a flight or fight response. If you let go, this is an inner action that prevents us from resisting pain and fear and allows us to see more clearly. If you can develop a nonjudgmental attitude towards people and life, you can truly let go. We can then forgive other people and ourselves for incompatibility and mistakes.
You must, therefore, become willing to let go of those people you no longer need as well as your anger, pain and fear. Letting go allows you to change and adapt, to become more flexible. While this isn’t easy and takes conscious effort, it is something that must be mastered to become truly resilient and successful in the face of adversity.
- They live for today. If you live in the moment, you can escape adversity and preserve your energy. Living for today doesn’t mean you don’t care about the future or your past. Rather, it means that, once you’ve decided to do something your focus lies solely on doing it instead of allowing your mind to go back to the past or wander towards the future.
- They can lead from within. Even in our darkest moments we need to remain connected with our core intentions. People who are resilient reach their highest possible potential through taking risks which are consistent with their own purpose and ethos.
Essentially, they lead themselves.
- They are flexible. We only need to look at water to see an example of the strength of flexibility. Water may be soft, yielding and fluid, but over time it wears away the rock that is unyielding and rigid. Whatever is yielding, soft and fluid eventually overcomes that which is hard and rigid.
To survive, lead and thrive in the face of adversity, we therefore need to be flexible enough to ride out the ups and downs of life. This means we need to have the adaptability, resilience and faith to manage life’s harshest realities.
- They choose the correct traveling partners. Those that we surround ourselves with make all the difference between success and failure in our lives. It isn’t just the people that we choose to surround ourselves with that count, but it’s also important to consider the ways in which we interact with them.
We need to avoid those who take us backwards, waste our time and bring us down. If they’re not interested in our suffering, they need to be avoided. Although sometimes we cannot remove such people from our lives, we can make choices to prevent them from weakening us.
In the journey of our lives, we encounter many people. While some are planned, others occur by coincidence or accident. Chance encounters can often be the best ones, with the people that we meet in such ways becoming valuable along the route that we travel. Even when those encounters are negative ones, their usefulness can be harnessed as a lesson for the future.
- They move forward. To be able to achieve our ambitions, we must be able to visualize our dreams. This creates the right mindset to bring our dreams to life. Knowing precisely what we desire lies at the heart of achieving success, but to execute that success, we need to move forward, taking another step each day, even when the path is difficult.
Chapter 10: 10 Tips to Increase Resilience to Help you Thrive
Now you know just how important resilience and grit are in your life when it comes to thriving and succeeding even in the face of adversity, it’s important to know how you can boost yours so you can achieve your full potential.
Here are ten tips you can follow to stand you in good stead for the future:
- Be sociable. It’s vital to have people in your life that you trust and can confide in. With supportive, caring people surrounding you, you have protection even in times of crises. Talking about your problems with loved ones and friends can’t make your problems go away, but it does allow you to get support, get positive feedback, share your emotions and feelings and to generate potential solutions to the issues you face.
- Take control. Waiting for problems to diminish by themselves is pointless and will only prolong the crisis you’re facing. Instead, begin working on how to resolve your issues straight away. True, there may be no simple or speedy solutions, but it’s possible to take steps towards improving your situation and making it less stressful. Try focusing on the progress you’ve already made and plan the next steps in your journey instead of being discouraged by how much remains undone and still has to be accomplished. Working actively on solutions helps you to feel in control of your life. Instead of waiting for things to take place, be proactive and make your goal a reality.
- Expect change. A key element of resilience is flexibility. If you learn how you can be more adaptable to different circumstances, you will be more equipped to cope if you face a crisis in your life. People who are resilient use such events as a way of branching out in a new direction. Although some people are crushed when they experience an abrupt change, people who are highly resilient learn how to thrive through adaptation.
- Move continuously forward. Although it seems hard, you mustn’t run from the things that frighten you most. By doing the things you fear, you can overcome the fear itself. Moving out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but once you’ve done it, you realize that it’s possible and, what’s more, it wasn’t as difficult as you anticipated. You can deal with all that life throws at you if you approach it head on, meeting it with strength. Eat the frog first – do the thing that is worst before you tackle anything else and the remainder of your day will be a breeze.
- Commit to decision making. It’s always hard to make a decision. Nobody has every bit of information they need and nobody can understand every eventuality. However, moving forward is impossible until you make a decision one way or another. Commit to making a decision and then commit to the decision that you’ve made. If it’s the wrong choice, learn from it and move in a different direction. Taking action swiftly and resolutely is essential for success, while doubting yourself and failing to decide only herald disaster.
- Learn about yourself. You need to learn how to recognize the things that make you unique and strong then own those things. Everybody has their own strengths and they must be acknowledged. Don’t wait for other people to acknowledge your own strengths – acknowledge them first yourself. Consider keeping a victory log where you journal everything you’ve accomplished during your life. Track the strengths you see in yourself such as hard work, promptness and self-discipline. This allows you to see clearly who you are and why you are successful.
- Banish negative self-talk. Being confident in your own abilities when it comes to coping with life’s stresses has a vital role to play in becoming more resilient. If you’re confident in yourself and your ability to deal with and respond to a crisis, you can cope in the future.
Part of this involves listening out for your own negative self-talk. If you’re constantly putting yourself down or making negative comments inside your head, you need to practice immediately replacing those thoughts with positive ones like “I’m able to do this” or “I’m good at what I do”.
Self-esteem has an important part to play in recovering from adversity and coping with stress, so remind yourself consistently of your accomplishment and strengths.
- Accept that bad things happen. Avoid dwelling on past events and don’t give yourself a hard time about the things that have already happened. It isn’t the negative event itself that hurts you, but rather the things you say to yourself when it has happened. To be successful, you need to talk positively to yourself. See negative events as merely temporary and keep a mindset that is future-oriented so you can enjoy lifelong happiness. Bad things will inevitably occur during your life but accepting this and facing the bad things in the future with strength is essential.
- Practice optimism. Maintaining a positive outlook and approach to life isn’t always easy but remember that successful people aren’t negative. Believe that life can be better and it will become better. To achieve this, count the things you have to be thankful for and journal them. This helps to cultivate greater optimism in your life.
- Practice compassion. If you’re feeling stressed out, it’s very easy to overlook your needs and to neglect your well-being. Not eating properly, forgoing regular exercise and sleeping badly may be common reactions when you’re coping with a crisis, but none of these things will help you to develop grit and resilience in the face of adversity.
Rather, focus on how you can nurture yourself. Show yourself the compassion that you would show to others who are going through a difficult time. Take time to do the things you enjoy. Look after your physical and mental well-being. Meditate, relax and de-stress. If you care for yourself and show yourself compassion, you will boost your health overall and improve your resilience so you can truly face the challenges of life and overcome them effectively.
We all face adversity in our lives from time to time and knowing how to face those troubling episodes without letting them overwhelm us is key to being happy, positive and, most of all, successful. Grit and resilience lie at the heart of this.
Grit means that you have the strength to face whatever comes your way and ride it out, even when it’s difficult. Grit and resilience are strongly connected, and when you have the right balance of both, you can bounce back even after you suffer a major defeat, loss, or tragedy.
You can learn from the mistakes that you make and accept that they are important when it comes to helping you to move forward in life with a positive perspective. Most of all, grit and resilience mean that you won’t fall at the first hurdle but will persevere and persist in the pursuance of your ambitions and dreams, whatever they may be and whatever the rest of the world says, and so overcome the challenges you encounter along the path.
In this book, we have looked at why grit, resilience and the growth mindset that they produce are so important to overcoming adversity and learning how to thrive in the face of life’s challenges. We’ve also looked at the fact that grit and resilience aren’t something that you’re born with, but are actually something you can develop, increase, and hone so that you can become even stronger and more able to cope, even when the going gets tough.
We have also suggested many ways in which you can develop greater resilience and grit in both your personal and working life so that you can become stronger as an individual and more capable of reaching your goals and achieving your ambitions.
Follow the top tips that we’ve suggested here and you’ll find that you become more successful in achieving the things that you desire from life, and also happier with the things that you already have. Developing grit and resilience to thrive in the face of adversity is a skill like any other, and with the right amount of practice and perseverance, you’ll find that your abilities become stronger and better over time so that you can achieve your own personal success.