Quick Takes:

  • “Grit” is a necessary component to success
  • A strong and compelling vision is also needed to succeed
  • It’s possible to increase your grit through a compelling enough vision
  • The attainment of your goal, however, needs a combination of mental toughness and passion
  • Mental toughness and passion are the physical manifestation of your grit and compelling vision

Grit (verb):

1. Perseverance and passion for long-term goals

2. A positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individuals passion for a particular long-term goal, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective

Well, do you have it? No, not grit, although I wouldn’t blame you if that’s what you thought. Do you have a worthy long-term goal? Do you have a vision for the life you want to live?

While grit is necessary to achieve any goal, it’s actually the goal itself that’s the most important. A goal worth achieving naturally breeds grit within the person trying to achieve it. So rather than asking yourself if you have the grit necessary to achieve your goal, ask yourself if you have the goal necessary to achieve the needed level of grit. 

Although it seems like a case of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”, it’s really not. Just like the concept of planning for success, where you start at the end point and work your way back, in order to have grit, you need to start at your end goal and work your way back toward today.

This way, when the going gets tough (which it most certainly will), you have a reason to persevere, because you know the direction you’re heading is the right direction. Your vision of the achievement of your long-term goal gives you the perseverance to succeed though sheer force of will, if nothing else; I’m coming to find that it often is nothing else.

So, sit down, today, and decide on your vision and long-term goal. Stop following your current trajectory, now, especially if the only reason you’re on it is because it’s what you’ve always done, or because it’s the normal thing to do. If your current life trajectory isn’t driven by some overriding goal, purpose, or vision, stop!

Even if that goal isn’t to solve world hunger but instead is to save “X” amount of dollars or to get out of debt, as long as the goal is meaningful to you, than it’s worthy enough to follow. Then, once you’ve defined your direction though an understanding of your goal and vision, you’ll face two scenarios:

1. The going will get tough, and you’ll feel like giving up. You’ll ask yourself, “is this worth it?” You’ll feel drained and lacking of grit, and realize that due to that lack of grit, the goal you set out to achieve wasn’t a goal you deeply wanted. You’ll have to come around to the fact that you need to start at square one, and redefine your goal and vision of your future so that it’s worthy enough to give you the necessary grit to persevere.

2. The going will get tough, and you’ll feel like giving up. You’ll ask yourself, “is this worth it?” You’ll feel drained and lacking of grit, and at the same time you get mad at yourself for even thinking that way. At your lowest moment of crises, you’ll rediscover the passion and tenacity to move forward toward your goal. You’ll realize in that moment, that there’s no option for you other than the achievement of your goal. You might have to adjust your plans, yes, but you don’t have to adjust your vision.

See the common theme? The going’s going to get tough, and you’ll have a moment of crises; It’s inevitable, as I’m quickly finding. But, it’s in this moment when you’ll know whether or not your goal is the right goal for you. So in that sense, a crisis is the best thing that can happen to you. It will strengthen your conviction or tell you early on to redefine your course, and ultimately save you lost time.

But, I know, grit is important too. It’s more a case of “what came first” than I initially let on.

People with a high amount of grit can persevere in almost any situation, for whatever reason they tell themselves. So, while you’re defining your goal or vision, which will strengthen your grit, you also need to strengthen your work ethic and resolve.

You can do this by increasing your mental fortitude. Whatever you face in life, know that you’re going to have to buckle down and just get it done. Whether you’re working a job you might not like, or fulfilling some obligation, attack it with a tenacity unknown to the average person. Build that mental toughness that will allow you to persevere in the face of any obstacle.

Then, when you do find that vision or goal that gives you a higher purpose, your grit will already be there, which will make it almost impossible to go anywhere but up.