Grit and resilience are words you’ve probably heard tossed around, but what do these abstract concepts really mean, and why are they essential skills for entrepreneurs?
Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania best known for her TED talk “The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” defines grit as “passion and perseverance for very long term goals.” Contrary to popular belief, research shows that talent doesn’t actually make you gritty. Grit is usually unrelated, and in some cases inversely related, to measures of talent. Duckworth suggests that sticking with your future, treating life like a marathon and not a sprint, is a clear-cut way to achieving success. See the TED Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8
Resilience, on the other hand, is a little more nuanced. Broadly, resilience refers to a dynamic process that involves adapting positively to stressors, or “bouncing back” in the face of adversity. The ability to respond productively to family and relationship problems, financial difficulties, workplace conflicts, or other significant sources of stress involves profound personal growth, and empowers you to improve your life along the way.
Before we jump into some tips and tricks, let’s talk about the growth mindset. Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, proposes that a growth mindset is the best way to develop grit and resilience, through the belief that the ability to learn can change with effort. In other words, failure isn’t a fixed condition. Dweck’s research has found that four key factors influence levels of grit and resilience:
Here are 5 key ways you can develop grit and resilience to build a growth mindset.
While praising and rewarding effort is certainly important, perhaps even more significant is the ability to acknowledge the process that led to your success. Parsing through the details of your hard work might seem tedious at first, but this kind of scrutiny enables you to identify which steps helped you achieve your goal, and which steps need to be modified in the future.
Critical feedback, weather from a supervisor, employee, or even a family member, is often quite uncomfortable. For those looking to develop grit and resilience, it is essential to find useful nuggets of information embedded in these kinds of critical messages, and use them to improve performance. If you find that feedback you’ve been given is poorly phrased or worded, try distancing yourself from your initial emotional response and ask for clarification. Once you’ve taken some time to understand the feedback, make an effort to follow up. This indicates that you’re invested in the process of self-improvement and have taken the time to come up with strategies to help you improve.
After a tough day in the field, it’s hard to keep going; you’re probably exhausted and are suffering from a lack of motivation. In these moments of distress and exhaustion, resilience can be built. During hard times it’s certainly necessary to validate your emotions, but it’s also important to promote self-growth by asking “What can I do to solve this problem?” If it seems like the problem is too big to tackle at once, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces or ask a friend or coworker to help. Taking initiative to solve these problems is a valuable reminder that you can summon purpose throughout even the most stressful moments.
Thinking about your purpose in life seems like a daunting task. As it turns out, you don’t need to have a spiritual revelation or embark on a year-long retreat to determine how you want to make a mark on this world. Simply pursuing your passion can help you identify the value-drivers that will enable you to cultivate a sense of meaning in your daily life; these can be things like contributions to society, belonging to a community, status and relevance. Knowing your “why” can make everything you do that much more meaningful.
As the world has evolved, humans have become more productive, and life seems to have become much busier as a result. Between meetings, presentations, training and seminars it may seem like there’s hardly any time to rest and recharge. Amidst the seemingly nonstop commotion of everyday life, it’s more important than ever to take a moment to pause and reflect on all that you’ve achieved. While consistent learning is essential in developing a growth mindset, it is equally necessary to take a moment of pause or else risk job burnout, a special type of work-related stress that can occur in those who don’t maintain a sustainable work-life balance.
At the end of the day, a growth mindset encourages individuals to perceive challenges as opportunities to learn, rather than insurmountable obstacles.
Bonus: we’ve developed a grit scale so you can see how gritty you really are! (https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/)