The Importance of Grit


Grit is of my favorite books and concepts in psychology and personal development. Angela Duckworth, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a book called GRIT based upon her research into the psychology of success. She interviewed many leaders in business, sports, academia and medicine about what sets the top performers apart from everyone else. Everyone concluded that top performers have 2 core qualities: passion and persistence. They have a deep love for what they do, and they have a never give up attitude, which their actions reflect. She termed the combination of passion and persistence GRIT. 

Through her research, she concluded success is more reflective of consistent practice and refinement of skills, rather than being born with talent. A never give up attitude trumps talent. But talent and skill can certainly be developed. How? With what Duckworth calls deliberate practice (clearly defined stretch goals, focus, feedback, repetition and refinement). This is a requirement for long-term success. It’s the never give up attitude combined with skill development that leads to long-term success. 

The Grit mentality easily translates to health and wellness. We know from psychological research that it is hard, but also necessary, to lean into challenge. It’s hard to challenge and change negative thinking. But adopting a growth mindset, for example, is certainly possible with deliberate practice, passion and persistence. And grit is the key component and precursor, if you will, to long-term health and wellness improvement. 

Growing Grit

But what if you want to grow and improve grit? Can that happen? Of course! Growing grit entails: cultivating your interests, connecting your work to a purpose beyond yourself, and seeking accountability and feedback from another person like a coach or a mentor to help you along the way.

Fostering a passion or purpose begins with discovery, trying different activities, stepping outside of your comfort zone. Once a passion or purpose is realized, it’s all about skill development, continuous improvement, and serving others. 

Goodness, honesty, integrity, are just as important as grit, according to Duckworth. So, when working on developing grit, developing a growth mindset, developing greater health and well-being, remember to develop it for the benefit of others, not just yourself. Because that leads to the greatest success and achievement in life.

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