What is the greatest predictor of success? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some professionals will tell you that it is standardized test scores and GPAs. Others believe social and emotional intelligence lead the way to success. But the latest research is leaning towards something else, grit.

Angela Duckworth, a researcher, scientist, and teacher defines grit as perseverance and passion towards a long term goal. Her findings indicate that grit, even more so than IQ, plays a vital role in a student’s ability to succeed at challenging, long-term, goals. The research suggests that students who are considered “smarter” often have less grit than their fellow students who compensate for the gap by working harder and showing more persistence. As a result, the “grittiest”, not the most intelligent, students find the most success later in life.  If you have the chance, check out her TED talks.

So can you learn to be “gritty”?  Duckworth believes you can! Here are some ways you can develop your “grit” and become more successful:

  • Find something that interests you and pursue it. You arelikely to give up on something if it doesn’t interest you. So before starting a new job, choosing a course of study, or diving into a new project, think to yourself…does this interest me? If the answer is yes, get after it and work hard.  This doesn’t mean that you should wait for the perfect thing to come along. Try new things and explore. When you find something that sparks a fire inside, find a mentor that can help you learn more.
  • Obey the 10,000 hour rule. If you have read or done any research on becoming the best, you have probably come across the 10,000 hours of practice rule, or the saying practice makes perfect.There is one key component to 10,000 hour rule that is often left out which leads to disappointment and discouragement. Some people feel that if they practice for 10,000 hours they will be successful, that is not necessarily true. The practice you put in must be deliberate practice. During your hours of practice, you must never be on auto pilot. The practice has to be intentional, focused, and honest.
  • It’s ok to fail. The grittiest people fail, and fail often, but never give up – that is what makes them gritty. Those with grit have a growth mindset. They know that if they fail it is simply a time to become better. They analyze their failure, develop a plan, and then continue a pursuit of their goal.
  • Find gritty friends. You are only as good as the company you keep, so keep inspiring company. While many believe peer pressure is a bad thing, you can use it to your advantage if you have a “gritty” crew. Spending time with people who pursue their goals, cultivate a passion, fail but bounce back, and practice diligently will rub off on you and help you develop your own grit.
  • Don’t expect likes and shares. The toughest thing about developing grit today is that we are primed for instant gratification. When we do something, we take a picture, and post it for everyone to see. Then we eagerly await and tally the responses and admirations. Unfortunately, grit functions on the opposite wave length. To have true grit you have to be willing to work for something over a sustained period of time, with no reward or recognition, just the desire to continue because it’s what you need to do to achieve a long term goal.

Building your grit will take time. However, the work is well worth the effort because developing a resilient and focused mindset will have a positive impact on every aspect of your life. If you choose to spend time with us this July, that will be one step in the right direction of developing grit. By joining Summer Springboard you will gain access to tools that will help you find your strengths, passions, and develop an action plan towards long term goals.