There’s an old adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Researchers, along with the popular media, have given the attribute of mental toughness the catchier label “grit.” Grit can be thought of as tenacity or perseverance, an inner quality that allows you to work diligently toward your goals. Clearly, getting gritty, personally and professionally, can take you to the next level.
So how do we get more grit? I’ve found three things that help to strengthen this quality.
1. Resist fear. If you let anxiety dictate your decisions, you’ll miss opportunities to stretch your boundaries and prove to yourself, and others, that you’re capable of more than you thought. Learn that software program, take a class, engage in a new hobby. If things don’t go as planned, you learn from that and grow, too. Be courageous. It begets grit.
2. Reject temptation. Staying focused on the end result means you’ll have to sometimes pass up opportunities. Very successful people say no to almost everything, stay focused and persevere in the face of distractions.
It takes grit to put off what we want in the now to realize our long-term goals.
3. Release control. Do you expend mind-time worrying about things that are out of your hands? For example, the Internet connection fails during your supervisor’s presentation; you quickly reach out to IT, but continue to stress. You’re wasting valuable mental power.
When your thoughts start to travel down an unproductive track, catch yourself right away and then tell yourself, “I derail that thought. I have taken appropriate action and can release and let go.”
Become aware of opportunities in your daily life to exhibit grit. Like any character trait, the more we practice it, the stronger it gets. Continue to build true grit, and you’ll be joining the ranks of highly successful people.