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© 2019 by Uncommonly Positive, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

Grit is the Breakfast of Champions

"Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives

from aimlessness." 

-John Ortberg


Grit. Not grits.


Grit is defined as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." Keyword: long-term. It requires the courage to start, and the resolve to continue until completion. It is a trait that requires incredible strength of character. 


Aristotle described it as persistence and tenacity.


Psychologist Fancis Galton described it in terms of zeal and unwaning capacity for hard labor. 


And Angela Duckworth found that grit trumps both talent and IQ. Duckworth is an American academic, psychologist, and popular science author. Aside from having a very cool last name, she studied neurobiology at Harvard College, graduated with a Masters in neuroscience from Oxford, and went on to receive her Ph.D. in psychology at the university of Pennsylvania. (Not too shabby.) She also happens to specialize in this little four-letter word. In one of her works, she explains: 


Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years, despite adversity, failures, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon. His or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectories and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course. 


In dissecting biographical collections on famous leaders throughout history, researchers found that individuals who were more successful and influential all shared this key trait. In fact, grit alone determined one's trajectory of success more than talent, resources, IQ, or emotional intelligence. Of course, ability and mastery of skill was important, but "zeal" and "persistence of motive and effort", was critical to reaching that level of mastery and pushing it across the finish line and into the realm of incredible impact. 


Grit is a stable trait that does not require immediate praise or positive feedback. It is not fueled by the approval of others, and it is not diminished by criticism, critique, or public failure. It is not motivated with seeking fame or external recognition for achievements, unlike ambition.


Those with grit maintain determination and motivation over the long-term, despite obstacles, adversity, and setbacks.Their overriding  commitment to the long-term fuels their stamina. 


Their superpower is overcoming obstacles or challenges. 

Perseverance, resilience, 


William James, explains that "compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked." He explains that explains that we all possess unbelievable amounts of mental resources, but only a few exceptional individuals actually tap into their deep reservoirs, and actually accomplish more than the average person. He also explains that talents were different than the strength of character required to exercise those talents. That strength of character was grit. 


Remember, success is not a sprint; it's a marathon. It may require sprints along the way. But it's ultimately about the long-term. 

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