Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up— Chinese Proverb
What is Grit? No, not grits, silly. Grit.
Grit is the ability to persevere when things don’t seem to be going your way. It’s being able to keep showing up in spite of difficulties while in pursuit of your goal.
Picture this. It’s 1974 in Zaire, central Africa. The “Rumble in the Jungle” has been hyped and touted as the biggest match of the century and the whole world is watching. A young Muhammad Ali is backed against a rope and being pummeled by a bigger and stronger George Foreman, the reigning heavyweight champion. But after 8 rounds of intense boxing and countless punches to the body, Ali somehow ends up towering over a knocked out Foreman in defiant victory. Ali perseveres and wins. This is grit. Being able to endure in the face of what feels like insurmountable challenges and obstacles.
Grit is a favorite trait of mine because it’s so darn useful in so many situations and anybody can learn how to adopt it. In fact, psychologists say that grit can help people obtain their goals just as much as skill or personal intelligence.
So why does this matter and why should you care?
Well, having grit can mean the difference between living the life you want to be living and feeling unfulfilled and like life is passing you by. When you are able to steadfastly pursue the things that you want even after failures and roadblocks, you are undeniably more likely to reach your desired destination.
Cultivating grit in your life can help if you are:
- struggling with finding a new job and have gotten countless rejection letters
- trying to break into a new career
- leave an unhealthy/ unfulfilling relationship
- attempting to lead a healthier lifestyle
- trying to become a more positive person
- trying to move on after bad things have happened
Whatever your challenges, here are 5 ways you can cultivate the habit of grit in your own life:
1. Remember why
Sometimes it’s really hard to maintain your motivation, especially when it takes great feats of willpower every single day. In moments when you feel like giving up, it’s helpful to remember why you started in the first place. Was it sheer frustration? Was it because you were sick and tired of how you were feeling? Whatever the reason, remember it when times are rough and it feels easier to give in and give up. You can anticipate that things won’t be easy when you begin by finding a way to commemorate the moment. Write a journal entry explaining why you are pursuing this new goal and list in detail how your life will be different one you achieve this goal. Record a video of yourself on your phone in which you express why reaching this goal is so important to you. You can replay it later when your motivation is running low.
2. Inspirational quotes
I don’t know about you, but a well chosen inspirational quote when I’m feeling low is deeply powerful. Aside from the fact that these quotes can speak directly to whatever situation I am struggling with, they also remind me that other people have struggled with my same problems and I feel less alone. I’m reminded that other people have made it through hard times and so can I.
3. Acknowledge and celebrate all of your progress
Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. We think it has to be all or nothing. Perhaps we haven’t reached our ultimate goal yet, but we can still celebrate how far we’ve come. For example, you may be looking for a job and haven’t yet found work. Well you can congratulate yourself for applying to x amount of jobs this week, even when you really didn’t feel like it. Even though you haven’t reached the finished line, you’re still in the race. Acknowledging your tenacity and celebrating it, helps you to remain committed to it!
It’s so important to take care of yourself so that you don’t burn out. Continue to do all the things that you enjoy as long as they don’t impede your goal. The pursuit of your goal should not force you to neglect all the other parts of your life. If you have an enjoyable life, you will feel less likely to quit when things get tough.
Everybody needs a cheerleader or two. Seek out people who understand and will support your pursuit of your goal. Encouragement is vital.
So in the comment section below, I’d love to hear how grit can help you pursue your goals!