Have you ever wondered why there are people who accomplish their goals while others keep failing to follow through on their dreams?
It is easy to assume it’s due to talent. However, people who start out first don’t necessarily end up first. It is those who possess grit that endure until the end. It is grit, not talent, what determines success.
What is grit? Grit is the combination of passion and perseverance. Grit is finding what sets your soul on fire and pursuing it relentlessly.
Much research has been conducted by psychologist Angela Duckworth on this topic. After being a teacher for quite some time, and prior to becoming a psychologist, Angela noticed that IQ wasn’t the main reason some students struggled while others succeeded. What she realized, and later supported through numerous research studies, is that the difference lied in their determination. Their resolve. Their grit.
Many of us attribute other’s successes to the fact that they’re “naturals”, when in most cases, it is grit, more so than talent, what takes them a long way. It is their tears, sweat, and blood what turns their ordinary talents into extraordinary abilities.
Achieving worthy goals is hard. Very hard. And although sometimes dreams may even seem impossible, they are really not. Not if we’re willing to pour our heart and soul into them. Not if we devote ourselves to persevering despite what we encounter along the way.
So how can we cultivate grit in our lives? How can we ensure we have the right combination of passion and perseverance to achieve success and make our dreams happen? Here’s a start:
Although a strong and moving desire, passion is not always lasting. Something that’s exciting and new can get pretty old after a while, especially when the going gets rough. What can contribute to enduring passion? Interest and Purpose.
- Interest: Sometimes we choose a pursuit for the wrong reasons (it’s the right thing to do, it’s practical, or we’re just good at it). After a while though, we feel like we have to drag ourselves to keep doing it (I know this is how I felt when I was working as an attorney!). However, if we pursue something that interests us, something we truly enjoy, we will be naturally inclined to continue pursuing it.
Rule #1: Do something you love.
- Purpose: Finding something we love is a start. The challenge is to stay in love with it. Inspiration can be a helpful tool to keep the flame burning, especially if we’re in it for the long haul. To prevent passion from fading away we need to know what we do matters. In addition to interest, we need purpose. We need to know we’re making a difference. Devotion is easier when we do something we love and when we realize the impact we’re making by doing it.
Rule #2: Find meaning in what you do.
- Perseverance – If we’re in it for the long run, we need to find a way of staying on track and slowly, but surely, making progress towards our dreams. It will not always be steady but it should always be constant. We may change strategies from time to time and try new things, as long as we don’t lose sight of our ultimate goal. The more we practice, the easier it will get. And even if it doesn’t, the sense of accomplishing a challenging long-term goal will be satisfying enough that we won’t mind the pain.
Rule #3 – Don’t lose sight of the goal.
- Hope – Last but not least, we must never lose hope. Once we do everything in our power to make our dreams true, we must have faith that we will get there someday. And know that even if we don’t, the journey will have always been worth it.
Rule #4 – Never stop believing.
Grit is taking the road less traveled and not turning back until we reach the end. It is traveling the path of most resistance and never giving up. Despite how many storms we have to weather, how many times we have to fall, and how many struggles we have to endure, grit is having enough passion and perseverance to get through it all.
A perfect combination of interest, purpose, perseverance, and hope. That’s how we make our dreams a reality.