Grit is the ability to stick to a long term goal or a task, even in the face of challenges and adversity. It can be difficult to stay focused and gritty when it seems to take forever to get to our desired goal or it gets really boring along the way. But there are many skills that only get better with lots of practice and repetition – and you need to stick with it to get better. How many three point shots has Kobe Bryant practiced in the course of his career? How many times do you think a classical musician practices scales on their instrument before the sound and smoothness is just right. There is a famous sushi chef who has spent years and years practicing and trying to perfect making sushi – simply putting rice in his palm, shaping it, slicing fish and molding them together – practicing this his whole career. This is grit (but don’t worry, most tasks do not require this much grit or time)! It is easier to be gritty when you value the goal you are working towards or when you can see yourself getting better and better as you practice.
Since grit is so valuable for accomplishing goals and learning to work through difficult circumstances it’s good to know how you can enhance your grittiness. Here are some suggestions:
- If you haven’t already, take the Grit Scale Test to get a better idea of where your grit level is right now.
- Talk about grit with your parents, mentors or teachers. Ask them for examples of when they got through a challenging experience or ask them about who they think of as gritty.
- Think about something you’ve always wanted to try but never did because you thought it would be too difficult to accomplish or stick with. If something comes to mind…go for it! The tougher something is to accomplish the greater the opportunities are for developing grit. The more challenging something is to achieve also relates to how exciting the reward feels too.
- Consider this: Playing video games or games on your phone can help you develop grit and learn to persevere, as well. Part of the brilliance of these games is that they keep presenting you with slightly harder and harder challenges while also giving you rewards for your successes along the way. This gives you some sense of accomplishment while you are playing, which encourages you to keep going. When we persevere through challenges it teaches us that working hard and sticking to a goal can end with a reward.
- Cut things up into small tasks to seem more manageable so you don’t get discouraged
- Similar to levels in a video game
- Find a way to give yourself little rewards when you finish parts of the task (also similar to a video game)
- The sense of accomplishment that you get from finishing a task should eventually be its own reward
- Keep in mind, if a task is too easy it won’t engage you, if it’s too hard it will discourage you – tasks need to be challenging but manageable