old man looking into the distance
Personal Development

What Is Grit? Does It Matter?


Originally published May 2018/ Updated June 2021

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope you have plans for a happy weekend and good start to the week.

We didn’t do much this weekend as most of the kids’ spring extracurricular activities are over. My son is preparing for his finals and AP tests. My daughter doesn’t have tutoring again until the start of next school year. So, I had time to sit and try to get organized again.

It’s what I do…organize. One day I will be happy with my system…

Today’s topic is GRIT (part 1).

What is that you ask? That movie with John Wayne (who’s that?) Jeff Bridges (who’s that?)  That stuff you drop shrimp on?

No? Read on…

Most people believe that most success is based on factors such as intelligence or talent and that those who have the most brain power or giftedness in a specific area are the most likely to succeed. It often appears that the spoils go to the smartest, the most trained, and the most connected people. Not true! Psychologists have discovered that there’s an element that almost always works in tandem with wit and ability when measuring success- grit.

Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth has studied the idea of grit and has come to believe that despite any outward advantages someone may have when pursuing their goals, the deciding factor often is grit over mental or natural ability. Her work indicates that there are greater forces at play in people who rise and achieve at greater levels.

Rock Climbing

What is grit? Grit is the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit is the use of stamina and sticking to the job until it’s done. Grit is understanding what’s at stake and doing what’s necessary to stay in the fight over the long haul, much like running a marathon.

Why does grit matter? As the world becomes faster, more competitive, and sometimes more hostile, you must stay focused and be able to adapt quickly. Developing grit as a character trait elevates your coping skills, increases your self-awareness, and gives you the edge that you need to achieve in all areas of life including family, health, and career.

The best example of modern-day grit is the reality show Survivor. This show pits capable men and women against one another in hostile and stingy environments. Contestants are vying to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other for a cash prize. Their physical and mental abilities are helpful, but the spoils go to the contestants who have grit and the ability to withstand the physical and mental abuses the longest.

Grit isn’t something most people talk about when it comes to success because it seems intangible, and there’s no formula to follow to get more of it. However, there are some simple actions that you can take to increase your ability to manage of greater levels of stress, increase your stamina, and outlast any issue that develops in your life.

Developing grit isn’t easy. However, it also isn’t impossible. Adding an extra skill set to your tool chest is a great way to increase personal growth and personal satisfaction in all areas of your life. After you develop a grittier perspective, you’ll move through life with an ease that others will envy.

Grit in Your Personal Life

Grit insists that you can, and you will make it through. Grit sees a way when all hope seems lost. Whether you’re suffering from a break up, a bankruptcy, a health issue, or a tough spot in parenting, you can get through it. Even when the unthinkable happens. Developing grit will enable you to weather the storm and persevere.

You may be wondering how grit can improve your personal life. But we know that developing a skill in one area of life automatically transfers to every other area; becoming grittier will then enhance your personal life.

Let’s look at the ways grit matters in your personal life:

  • Increased communication skills – Digging deeper in a relationship requires you to learn to listen and share your thoughts and feelings in healthier ways. Grittier people develop excellent communication skills, speak openly and honestly about their needs, and foster meaningful relationships as a result.
  • Extending kindness and grace – One of the by-products of having grit is the willingness to extend grace and forgive. People with high levels of grit learn to extend patience, gratitude, and kindness, even when it isn’t deserved. Grit gives us the ability to withstand tougher people and tougher situations thereby creating more tolerance. Ultimately, this enhances relationships because this allows time to foster growth and change, even with the most difficult people.
  • Becoming unaffected by the little things – Have a conversation with someone who has grit and you will notice something interesting; they usually don’t sweat the small things. People who have mastered letting things go tend to be un-phased by the first-world problems that offend others. Grit-filled people are able to live and let live; they rarely attach judgments to other people’s motives.
  • Increased loyalty – In a day and age when 50% of marriages end in divorce and 75% of second and subsequent marriages fail, people with grit develop a loyalty that overcomes the odds. People with grit don’t run when the honeymoon is clearly over; they roll up their sleeves and find a way to work it out and handle the issues at hand.

Going through a difficult time at work or in the community may be the catalyst for developing grit, but the benefits will wash over onto every area of your life. Next, we evaluate grit in your professional life.

Grit in Your Professional Life

If you’ve been in the workforce long enough, you’ve been managed by great leaders and not-so-great leaders. Most often, the best leaders were approachable, practical, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Therefore, they would be considered gritty.

Whether you are line staff, in management, or an entrepreneur, having grit is going to set you apart from the herd. Being able to withstand criticism, get creative, and solve problems that others can’t or won’t solve will catapult you to new heights.

strength symbol

No matter how you earn your income, the goal is to rise to the top of your market and command the lead wherever you can. Here’s how having grit matters in your professional life:

  • Increase ability to work smart, not hard – The grittiest people know that outcomes aren’t tied to time, they’re tied to effort. It isn’t about how much time you put into a project; the key is to work smart. Grit discovers ways to increase productivity, identify key concepts, and discover missing aspects that others overlook. A prime example of this would be Timothy Ferris and his block-busting best-seller The Four-Hour Work Week. 
  • Increased know, like, and trust factor – Let’s be honest; people who get stuff done get the respect they are due. Being a dependable leader that can say “yes” to any challenge is going to rise to the top. “Fortune favors the bold” is a Latin proverb that reminds us that the spoils go to the ones who take risks, do more, and stand out. This is definitely a product of grit!
  • More promotions and raises – Generally speaking, unless you work for a union with scheduled raises and promotions, getting a salary increase or more responsibility comes from effort. In this competitive market, it takes more to stand out and break free from the crowds. Having grit and being able to do what others can’t or won’t will ensure that you’re a leading candidate when it’s time for raises and promotions.
  • More stamina and problem-solving skills – Projects often require early mornings, late nights, juggling family time, and multiple pressures. An entrepreneur breaking out from side-hustle to full-time independence is going to have to endure long hours to accomplish their goals and may have to work two jobs at once. Grit helps develop the stamina it takes to commit to the long-term gain while suffering the short-term pain. Taking risks and failing results in learning valuable lessons that create excellent problem-solving skills.

Earning income is a necessary part of life. Making as much money as possible with minimal effort is the ideal. Rising to the top of your profession and being seen as a competent leader with an outstanding reputation is also a worthy goal. Grit is the secret ingredient to an outstanding career.

I know a little about grit…

I’m not sure if most of you know this but I have another blog After Nikki Got Her Kidney. Originally, I posted to it to help me find a kidney donor. After my transplant, I decided not to get rid of it but to try to use it for other good causes. Now, I share Facebook pages of other people looking for donors.

Reading the stories of these people always really hit home. I understand what they are going through — I’ve been there. Waiting for something like that takes courage – or grit—because you are getting through the short(ish)-term pain to get to the gain (a transplant) of some type. That’s grit.

Grit – the stick-to-it-iveness that keeps you in the fight…

We all have it –or we can get it.

Next Tuesday in Part 2, we will go a little deeper on grit and it can affect you as a person.

‘Til tomorrow.

Loving Life—the Reboot!



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