Research at the University of Pennsylvania concludes that grit is a better indicator of success than other factors such as IQ or economic status. This theory explains why grit – or resilience – in the workplace can be the key to getting ahead. Resilience pushes us forward and helps us persevere through adverse conditions, conquer difficult projects, overcome failures, and commit to long-term goals. How do you know if you have grit?
In an NPR interview, “Is Having Grit The Key to Success?,” Harvard and Oxford-educated psychologist Angela Duckworth discusses her research study examining “grit” as a predictor of success. Her goal: to determine why some people are more successful than others. While conducting her research, Duckworth created the Grit Questionnaire, a quick survey that helps participants assess their level of grit in comparison to the public at large. Taking the test may help you understand what’s working to your advantage and what’s keeping you from realizing your potential.
Is it possible to develop grit? Here are five suggestions that will help:
- Consider a failure a temporary setback. People with grit understand that a failure isn’t a permanent condition. They evaluate the failure, learn from the experience and move on.
- Eliminate negative “self talk.” Monitor your “self talk,” noting frustrations, identifying the circumstances that provoked negative responses, and how resilience would have helped. Remove “I’ll never be able to do this,” “I can’t,” and other negative self talk from your internal dialogue.
- Adopt a “growth mindset.” The ability to learn isn’t stagnant. Instead, it has an amazing capacity to grow with the effort exerted. People with grit don’t allow self-created obstacles to block their path to success.
- Develop meaningful long-term goals. People with grit pursue goals with determination, they aspire to excellence, and never settle for “good enough.” Discussing your goals with a trusted advisor will help you stay on track.
- Eliminate toxic influences. Negativity is contagious, so surround yourself with people who will encourage and motivate you rather than those with a “can’t do” attitude. Positive influences will fortify you when things get tough.
Employees with “true grit” don’t accept defeat – they find a way around it, through it, or over it.