Grit - 3 Steps to Building Mental Toughness

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Grit - 3 Steps to Building Mental Toughness

Grit is the mental toughness, courage and persistence to achieve your goals.  Grit has been shown to be a better predictor of success than IQ.  It is something you can build. Lets look at how…

Angela Duckworth, the professor at University of Pennsylvania who leads the field in grit research, tells us that talent is not the success factor we often think it is.  “Our potential is one thing.  What we do with it is quite another.”  She explores this question – talent and intelligence/IQ being equal: why do some individuals accomplish more than others?

Angela set out to measure who made it through the United States Military Academy West Point training.  One in 5 drop out.  She defined the common factor the stayers had as GRIT.  She has consistently found in subsequent studies on school leavers and Ivy League undergraduates that grit is the defining factor in success.

She surveyed spellers in the national USA spelling B and found that those who showed themselves as grittier on her test scales went further.  They were those who studied more hours and entered more competitions.

How can you develop mental toughness and grit?

1.     Define what grit means to you

2.     Build the habits that build mental toughness

3.     Build grit through stretching one minute more

 

1. Grit means…

What does grit or mental toughness mean for you? What do courage, consistency and optimism look like? For me it looks like…

o   Meeting my work targets ahead of schedule

o   Maintain an optimistic approach and thoughts even when I have no control

o   Swimming three days a week

o   Painting 5 days a week

Mentally tough employees, artists and writers are people who work to a schedule whether they feel like it or not.  They identify the tasks that need to be done, prioritise them and take responsibility for their output.

 

Build Strong Habits

The gritty surface has lots of little sticking points that enable grip.  To increase our resilience we identify ‘grip points’ – those actions that help our plans stick.  Grit isn’t about motivation or energy.  Grit is the accumulated habits that help us stick to a schedule and overcome challenges again and again. 

To be mentally tough you don’t have to be the smartest, toughest or most courageous, just more consistent.   Grit is about habits – doing the things you know you are meant to do more consistently. Sticking to a schedule and being dedicated to daily practice.

Start with the outcome you want and work back to the small habits that will help you build up to what you want.

The habits that help me build grit:

o   Fit people are consistent.  To help me be consistent I need my kit ready the night before, have breakfast ready and go straight to the pool before reading emails

o   Identify and list the work required for each day/week, write do lists, check them off daily

o   Switching off un-useful thoughts and replacing them with neutral thoughts for a whole day.

o   Painting daily – even if it is only for 10 minutes. 

Dan Chambliss the author of “The Mundanity of Existence” tells us that extraordinary achievements are an aggregate of ordinary actions.

“Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into a habit and then fitted together in a synthesized whole.  There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions: only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly and all together, producing excellence.”

 

Build Grit through stretching 1 minute more

Once you are developing your habit patterns attend to building your mental toughness attitude.  Like building any muscle it requires practice.  Just do one more minute of effort - stretch.

Do one more minutes work when I want to stop. Before I stop, plan what it is I need to do when I resume.  If I don’t have time to swim an extra lap – swim this one a bit faster.  Create when just consuming would be easier.  Ask a question when it is easier to accept.

What would doing one minute more look like for you?

If you want insights into your own ability to change take the tiny habits one week challenge - go to www.tinyhabits.com

If you want to learn more about grit look into my Resilience course www.celiamoriarty.com

 

 

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