Grit is a catchy phrase in today’s world. According to Angela Duckworth, grit is “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
Essentially, it’s our ability stick with long-term goals and continue pursuing them, even if the face of adversity.
Our world is consumed with meaningless instant gratification goals instead of meaningful ones that take time to achieve. Few people seem willing to persevere after a goal for years, and we look at them with envy when they do eventually win.
It would be great if you could magically snap your fingers and “poof,” you were gritty. Unfortunately you can’t build it overnight, but you do have the opportunity to build it over time.
Take for example how you can build it today.
But first, a reminder on how to build grit.
Grit is a product of consistently working to build your skill.
- Video Blogging
Pretty much, any skill that you want to improve at requires a consistent investment of time working to improve that skill.
It’s like learning to play a musical instrument. I took guitar lessons as a kid. At first, I would practice my guitar every day between lessons. This allowed me to improve my finger strength and skill with the guitar between the lessons with my instructor.
Eventually I stopped practicing as much between lessons (and then stopped altogether), and the paid instructor lessons became a repeat of the previous week because I hadn’t consistently done the work to build on the previous week.
I had no grit for improving my ability to play the guitar because I only practiced when I felt like it or had a lesson scheduled. I was never going to be Angus Young, but I could have learned to play the guitar well had I stuck with a daily practice schedule consistently.
I eventually quit playing altogether because I started seeing what I wanted to do (play AC/DC) and compared it to where I was right now (barely getting through basic chords). What I failed to see is that if I’d worked consistently on playing, I could have improved my competence, thus building my confidence and increasing the likelihood I’d have stuck with it.
Instead, I was too inconsistent in my work to show any real improvement.
You can’t hope to make much progress if you only invest time when you’re motivated or feel like it. You can’t build your grit when you inconsistently practice
So back to you and building grit today.
One of the easiest ways to improve your grit long-term is to focus on just today and answer the question, “what can I invest 15-30 minutes into that will improve my skill for tomorrow?”
You’re not looking at next week or next month. You’re ignoring the gap between today and where you want to be. You’re solely focused on today and the small investment you can make to improve a skill for tomorrow.
If I was talking to my teenage-self about playing the guitar, I’d challenge him to set a 20-minute timer and just focus on the practice work from our instructor. Don’t worry about what you have to do tomorrow or where you messed up at yesterday’s practice. Solely focus on making the most of your 20-minute practice today.
Do the same thing tomorrow.
Don’t worry if it’s boring. Don’t be concerned about where you aren’t “yet.” Just focus on today.
Our grit grows when we learn to focus our focus in the present – and then feed it by doing the work that moves us forward.
Go win your day, Competitor.