In business, it’s standard to develop policies and procedures for operations. If you compare a McDonalds in New York to one in California, you’ll see that they both make a Big Mac the exact same way. A Starbucks latte is made the same way in Washington as Florida. The process is the predictor that there’s continuity in the sandwich and latte no matter the location or employee.
For individuals, grit is the strongest predictor for future success—grit overcomes wit and ability every single time. Studies have proven that a group with equal IQ scores and ability will lose to those with grit. People with grit adapt, take direction, seek to understand, and then make changes to help them endure things others can’t, or won’t, accept. It’s the edge and greatest predictor of success.
Grit is much like your compound interest in a bank account—once you get a little, it’s a lot easier to get even more. Once you endure and adapt, or create a solution to dig deeper, it never goes away. It then becomes a cornerstone future grit is built upon. Pro athletes are a great example of people who have the ability to endure, adapt, and withstand while using their grit. Even if they leave the world of athletics behind, the same mindset and tools can be applied to other areas of their lives. They continue to outwit and outlast competitors because they know how to get into a zone that their competitors find elusive.
You can use your past to influence your present and future by using the skills you created when you had to overcome and rise above a difficult time.
✔ That time you had to say goodbye to someone you loved.
✔ That season you didn’t sleep when your baby was young, and you had to be at work.
✔ Being in boot camp or on tour during your military career.
✔ Working menial jobs and creating a budget with little income.
✔ Being a single parent with no support.
✔ Overcoming a medical event.
✔ Bringing your credit back after bankruptcy.
If you’ve endured loss and came out the other side, I have no doubt you’ve developed grit. Use those skills you’ve learned and be open to adding to the skills you already have.
How Grit and Patience Make You a Happier Person
A typical by-product of grit is patience. Gritty people let go of pettiness that needs to be front-and-center in all things. Grit gives someone benefit of the doubt, harbors no judgement, and allows you to see things through a lens colored with compassion and grace. Grit develops wisdom and promotes kindness through your experiences and overcoming challenges. It comes from a humble place of having seen more and realizing that the small stuff isn’t going to ruin your day.
People with compassion are generally happier. Refugees express gratitude and personal satisfaction after having endured so much in their lives. They roll their eyes and laugh at the small things that plague others. The term “first world problems” comes from the idea that developed countries don’t have the ability to understand true suffering and challenges.
Those who have seen the worst in humanity develop a sense of compassion and patience to endure the difficult things in life. They find joy in small things and worry less about things that might stress people who haven’t struggled.
Those who have had to dig deep to win have learned to embrace the pain that comes with success. Those who develop the skill set need:
Those with grit see success as a marathon. They don’t demand—or expect—instant gratification. They know that blood, sweat, and tears will be shed along the way. Long-suffering is something that has to be exchanged for grit in your life.
Grit is your prize for sacrifice and endurance. It’s a prize that can’t be taken. You’ll always be the champion of whatever you’ve overcome. The by-product of grit is the happiness that comes from knowing something others don’t. Being able to let go and let others be who they are without allowing them to impact you is a very powerful place. This comes from grit and patience.
Who are some of the happiest people you know? Most likely, they’re people who have been through something that created grit. The experience gave them a perspective that creates a happiness that they radiate.
How Passion Will Help You Stretch Your Grit Muscles
One driving force that creates grit is passion for something bigger than yourself. Passion begins where interest ends. It can be an innate urge to express yourself—often the case for writing. It can also come from being driven by something outside yourself—like truth and social justice. Passion is strengthened by stretching your grit muscle.
Innate passion develops the grit muscle by requiring the discipline and focus to carry out your passions. And whatever the passion, there will be sacrifice.
Young gymnasts reach a crossroads in their training when they have to choose to take their potential and talent to the next level. Their sacrifices include hours of practice, commitment to a low-calorie diet, and strict social or family boundaries. There’s practicing with the pain of strained muscles and enduring a grueling regimen to become gymnastic perfection. Something that requires a level of grit that hardly anyone can imagine.
Someone who has experienced social injustice can be compelled to work for change. They have to commit to working against a system that pushes back against anything that challenges the status quo. Creating a foundation from scratch or challenging an archaic institution isn’t easy.
Grit is developing mental and emotional “muscles” that withstand pain and transforms it into a momentum gaining strength. Grit gets up early when we want to sleep in. Grit makes us practice instead of going to dinner with friends. Grit helps us withstand criticisms from ignorant, sabotaging people who want to see us fail. Grit pardons the offenders, gives wisdom, and seeks a way around roadblocks.
Let yourself take your passions to the next level, whether it’s for personal enjoyment of a hobby, a recreational experience, or the mission to change the world. All require grit and strength to become your best self. Be willing to flex your grit muscles and grow as you become a better, grittier version of yourself. You can achieve anything if you strengthen your grit muscle.
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