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Why “grit” is a predictor of success

What’s the secret to success?

It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. Most of us search for shortcuts.

But unfortunately, according to expert psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, who for 10 years studied what makes someone successful, shortcuts to success don’t exist.

In fact, Duckworth’s extensive research suggests that the predictor of success is grit.

Yep, our ability with stick with something when it’s not working out. Surprised?

If you think that answer is too simple, ask yourself this question: when was the last time you didn’t follow through on something because it got too hard?

Or because you didn’t know the next steps? Or because you didn’t have the answers you were looking for? There’s your answer. Sometimes we give up too easily.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that life should be easy and that we shouldn’t have to work for the things we want.

But Duckworth points out that success is not about hard work. It’s about consistent work. You don’t need to work any harder than anyone else to find your version of success…you just have to keep looking.

Check out her riveting TED talk here and prepared to be inspired.

If you are someone who longs for success but can’t seem to find your footing, try these 5 simple things to keep you going when the motivation is low, and the pressure is high.

In other words, do these things when the shit is hitting the fan, and you’ll find more success than you ever thought possible.

5 simple ways to boost grit

1) Focus on positive self-talk

Yes, we’ve all heard this one before, but have you actually tried to talk yourself through a crappy situation?

Have you been curious about what could happen if you just kept going through the tough times instead of giving up? Try it.

You might be surprised to find that a little “fake it til you make it” mentality goes a long way when you are on the verge of quitting.

However, keep in mind that positive self-talk isn’t about self-deception. According to Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. in Psychology Today:

“Positive self-talk is not self-deception. It is not mentally looking at circumstances with eyes that see only what you want to see. Rather, positive self-talk is about recognizing the truth, in situations and in yourself. One of the fundamental truths is that you will make mistakes. To expect perfection in yourself or anyone else is unrealistic. To expect no difficulties in life, whether through your own actions or sheer circumstances, is also unrealistic.”

2) Find people who are also searching for success and stick with them

Two, three, or four heads are better than one, and you can lean on each other for advice and support.

If someone is watching, you are less likely to quit. That’s why we plaster our social media with goals and ideas – we know that telling the world will help keep us accountable.

The truth is that the only person we need to be accountable to is ourselves, and no one knows that better than someone who has found some semblance of success.

So find those people and hang out with them more.

According to Linda and Charlie Bloom in Psychology Today:

“The development of grit requires support. Enlist and engage with role models, mentors, teachers, coaches, and those who are further along on a similar path.”

3) Be focused on your goal, but don’t be attached to the path that leads you there

This is a vital mistake many people make.

When people make plans, they tend to focus on the “how” of the plan, instead of the “what.” When we focus on the “how” we stop ourselves from moving forward.

If we focus on the “what” and allow ourselves to be open to how we get there, multiple opportunities and pathways open up for us.

When we are laser-focused on getting to the finish line we often miss out on alternative routes.

According to Linda and Charlie Bloom in Psychology Today, grit is about keeping your eye on the prize:

“Keep your eye on the goal and take actions that are aligned with it.”

So be open-minded about how you define your success and how you find it.

4) Take baby steps

Everyone hits the ground running, and within days and weeks, ideas and motivation fizzle out. Don’t let that happen.

Set yourself up for success from the start by working toward smaller goals that help contribute to the larger goal you are after.

Sure, this takes more time, but it is time well spent to help you figure out those paths we were just talking about. Plus, you won’t be overwhelmed.

The philosopher Ken Keyes says, “The secret of life is sticking with it.”

5) Make sure to take time to celebrate the little wins you have on a regular basis

Don’t get lost in the process. Be sure to reflect on what has happened, what you have learned, and how you can apply what you have learned.

People who do this on a regular basis are always getting better in their craft and their work. They are the people who find success, so stick with it.

In a study of how an organization’s culture can influence a person’s performance, researchers analyzed almost 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees across seven companies and it was suggested that capturing small wins every day enhances a worker’s motivation.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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