How Do You Build Grit?

Perseverance, the idea of grit, fascinates me. Every time I finish a (damn*) book, I experience relief and happiness. Relief that it is finally over—that’s the “damn” part. Happiness because I finished. Read that word, finish, in neon-blinking capital letters with fireworks. That’s how it feels to me.

Damn*: Finishing a book is a slog for me. The finishing requires more grit than I ever imagine. Writing the book is great, but finishing is a slog for me. It’s all about the details and details are my weak spot.

I don’t know how you think about grit or how often you practice it. I was poking around, doing some research for other writing, and I realized Angela Duckworth has a grit scale. (Here’s her Ted Talk, if you haven’t seen it yet.)

She references Carol Dweck and the growth mindset. I wrote about that a little in Can You Think, “Until Now”?

Grit isn’t just sticking blindly with something. Grit incorporates learning. Every time I write a book, I become a better writer. Every time I stick with the writing, I learn how to stick with the writing. I learn how to make everything better.

I don’t choose to build my resilience and perseverance on everything. That would exhaust me. But, I am happy to build my grit on some aspects of my life.

Here’s how I decide where to build my grit:

  • Can I see why this activity make my life worthwhile in the long run, not just the short term? (Writing and publishing does for me.)
  • Can I enjoy my learning now (at least a little) and later? (For me, part of grit is the enjoyment of my learning and progress. I’m better at the book thing every time I publish another.)
  • Is there a way I can gauge my learning, so I can see my progress? (I find it difficult to continue when I don’t see any progress. I often measure the progress by the ease I have in this activity. East is not always about the time it takes me to do the work.)

You can see I make conscious choices of where to invest my learning.

I use these ideas to build my grit:

  • Realistic optimism. I might not be a perfect writer yet, but I can continue to practice and get better.
  • Resilience. How can I see my reality and have the self-esteem to consider adaptation?
  • Create options. How can I generate options so I can continue to practice?

I use the growth mindset.

To recap: I decide what’s worth building my grit. I practice, preferably with feedback.

Dear adaptable readers, that’s the question this week: How do you build grit? I especially want to know if you use other ideas.

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