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How Gritty are you in Business?


Sarah A Scala, M. Ed & OD
Reading Time:
3 minutes

Where did Grit come from? Angela Duckworth, a former management consultant who became a New York City Public School teacher, realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing differentiating successful students from those who were less successful. Through research, she discovered that grit is the differentiator, not just for elementary students, but for students at the United States Military Academy at West Point and for employees in businesses.

What is grit? Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance. In an interview with Huffington Post, Duckworth shared that “Gritty individuals approach the journey to mastery like a marathon rather than a sprint and this fuels their stamina to practice their talents over and over and over again.” In his book Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania), states that Grit is an extreme “trait of self-discipline.”  

In a 2013 article in Forbes Magazine, it states that Gritty people also focus on excellence versus perfection and are action oriented versus dependable. Let that sink in for a moment. Perfection is not the goal and neither is being dependable. Those points are often questioned by business leaders when I teach about Grit to corporations. Gritty people have the courage to stay focused on very long-term goals and have developed endurance.

Grit and Business. From tech innovators and scientists, to start-up leaders, inventors, and educators Grit is needed to stay the course, despite failures on the way to success. Those who are very Gritty also have a high level of both resilience and optimism; which can also be developed. I often teach optimism and resilience as the stepping stones that Grit is built on.

Quantify Your Grit

You might be wondering just how Gritty you are. To quantify your level of Grit, take this quick, free assessment provided by the University of Pennsylvania or Angela Duckworth’s free Grit Assessment.

How to build Grit?

Duckworth later shared with Huffington Post, ways to build Grit. One way is to develop a Growth Mindset, which is the belief that we can improve and continue to learn and grow. Those who are Gritty often have a growth mindset. Grit can be built by simply asking for help or intentionally practicing. Do you have an accountability partner and strong support system when you struggle or experience failure? If not, work to build a support system, perhaps working with a mentor, to strengthen your Grit. Have you set up systems to have small wins as you practice to build a skill or talent? Grit can be enhanced by having a sincere interest in the long-term goal. Is it meaningful to you? If you are not interested or willing to practice, it is difficult to stay focused long-term.

To learn more about Grit, Duckworth’s fascinating research can be found in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence and on her short TED Talk on Grit.

Check out my podcasts on Grit and Resilience for Millennials and International Business Leaders Learning English .

What are ways that you are working to build grit in yourself and others in your organization?  Comment Here.  

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