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The One Essential Trait You Need for Success

Success can be defined in any number of ways. There’s success at work, school, in your personal relationships, and many others. It can be measured in a multitude of ways as well. Perhaps you make a lot of money compared to your friends, maybe you simply have a lot of friends. Either way, most of us look up to or envy others who have achieved “success” in their various endeavors. So what sets those successful people apart from the norm? Just one thing according to Angela Lee Duckworth, a noted psychologist. Grit.

Watch Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk on the subject of grit below and formulate your own opinions on how gritty people achieve success.

What is grit?

Grit is a trait formed of passion and perseverance. It doesn’t have anything to do with innate talent, high IQ, or anything else we are led to believe from a young age. Anyone, no matter their background, can have grit. Grit is just one way to describe the attribute. Others call it toughness, stamina, or just the ability to ‘tough it out.’ Grit is persevering when times are tough with an end goal in mind. Instead of caving to easier options, people with grit stick to their goals no matter what.
Grit is a trait that most people have to learn the hard way. If you’re presented everything you’ve ever wanted or needed, it’s likely that you won’t develop grit. Some people falsely accuse millennials of being “snowflakes” which is another way of saying that we don’t have grit. Some of us do, others of us don’t.

Where does grit come from?

The concept of grit has been around for a long time. When people talk about building character, they are really referring to the concept of becoming gritty. Learning how to suffer for the end goal because the short term option isn’t as rewarding is building grit. Programs like the boy and girl scouts train kids to become gritty. They teach kids how to persevere through difficult times for the end goal of accomplishment and a badge. Physical challenges like camping or financial ones like raising money help kids understand the benefits of toughing it out.

In our adult lives, there are fewer opportunities to develop grittiness and are often less enjoyable. Usually, grittiness develops because of an uncontrollable hardship. A bad breakup, being laid off at work, or heavy medical bills give people real-world experience being gritty. Once you get through enough adversity, the grit starts to stick to you. You think “if I can make it through that, this small challenge won’t be too hard.”

But why is grit important?

Many people falsely believe that other traits like physical ability, who your family is, or even your looks are the main contributing factors to success. These are more of “limiting factors” however. It’s like how money doesn’t make you happy, but you will certainly be unhappy without money. It’s similar for success. It’s hard to be successful if you’re from a low-income family, but grit can help to make up for it. Grit is the one ability that can’t be learned out of a book. It has to be learned the hard way.

Have you heard this saying before?

This is a common expression that hiring managers with even the barest knowledge of proper hiring methodologies ascribe to. Most skills are trainable to someone who has the desire and drive to accomplish their goal. Therefore, if you hire someone who has grit, it is likely that you will be able to train them with ease and get an exemplary employee into the bargain.

Traits and features which aren’t as important as grit for success:

·       High IQ
·       Bodily health
·       Socio-economic advantage
·       Parentage
·       Beauty
·       Test scores

People with grit put in the work.

There will always be people who hold you back because you lack one or more of the above features. The hiring manager might be classist, maybe they only like people from their alma mater, or maybe they don’t like how you dress. The good thing for people with grit is that they get back up and keep on going when others try to limit them based on these factors. Those people, however, will never see the value of true grit and benefit from it themselves.

Have other opinions on grit, or want to share your own story of grittiness? Leave me a comment below!

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