Year Two, Skill #36; Develop Some Personal Grit

It’s January 30th. The end of the first month of the year. When Rhea and I were planning the next few blogs we thought it would be a good time to ask, “So just how are those New Year’s resolutions coming?”

Hold the answer to that question for a moment.

I have been reading Angela Duckworth’s newest book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I won’t give a book review because you can get one here, but I will tell you that I have been thinking a lot about grit, loosely defined as self-control and stick-to-it-tive-ness.   I have been wondering if I have enough grit. I have been thinking about how grit might be necessary if you and I are going to keep our New Year’s resolutions. I have been thinking about grit in relation to LiM2’s future, because one of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus on and figure out where LiM2 should go next. The research says grit is more important than skill or education in reaching one’s goals and determining success.

Grit is more important than skill or education in reaching one’s goals and determining success.

Here are Duckworth’s four steps that are necessary in honing grit:

Identify a burning interest

What really lights a fire in you? It could be as simple as being a wonderful parent, sibling, or friend.  It could be caring for the earth, building bridges with people of other faiths, or making beautiful music. It might be encouraging health and wellness, knitting an afghan, or helping the homeless.

Practice it a lot

There just is no substitute for practice. We have written about it before.  We all need hours spent learning, repeating, and developing the necessary skills to put our passion into action. Most things worth while do not come easily. They come with sweat equity. So practice, practice, and then practice some more.

Have a sense that it will contribute to making the world a better place

Many social scientists believe that we are born with a desire to help others. Deep inside of each of us, we truly want to make a change, to see our efforts making the world a better place. Examine your thoughts about this. When we are helpful in a way that really matters, this energy seems to allow us to keep trying hard and stick with something.

Rid yourself of pessimism and develop a growth mindset

You can learn optimism, and it truly does make a difference in the outcome of your efforts. So stopping negative thinking and believe that you can improve and your efforts can grow help hone personal grit.

Many resolutions fail because we do not identify a burning interest. We “should” ourselves into resolutions. I “should” read more. Or I “should” eat better. Or I “should” get involved in my community more. But this “shoulding” is not really coming from a place of passion. So, if that is true for your New Year’s resolutions, you have failed at Duckworth’s Step One.  I do have a burning interest in psychology and spirituality and how they intersect, so keeping on with LiM2 is a good idea!

Many resolutions fail because we do not identify a burning interest.

Practicing is sometimes known as the 10,000 hour rule. According to Malcolm file000663100540Gladwell, author of Outliers, you have to do something for 10,000 hours before you are considered an expert. Or as my late piano teacher, Louella Gibson, use to say, “For every time you play that incorrectly, Amy, you have to play it correctly 7 times.”  Therefore, it is important to practice correctly. Slow down. Do it right. Log your hours.  I do have a lot of practice in psychology and spirituality. And I probably have 10,000 hours of blogging and authoring by now. So LiM2 is passing the test at Level 2. How are you doing with practicing? Are you putting in the necessary time to build a habit? To increase your skill level?

file0001327221453Do I believe LiM2 will make the world a better place? Hell, yes! I believe people need skills, and you, Precious Readers, write and tell us how much our blogs mean to you and how much these skills are helping you. (And thank you from the bottom of our hearts because we need encouragement and affirmation, too!)  So LiM2 is good at Level 3. Is your resolution going to make the world a better place? Losing 10 pounds may seem like a good resolution, but according to Duckworth, you are likely to fall short if you cannot identify how your goal will change something bigger than just you. Maybe it will help your family? Your friends? Your community? Your state?  What will you do with your new, healthier body?

Now I am getting to the rub. Do I have a growth mindset? Am I rid of pessimism? And the truth is that I am lacking here. I cannot figure out how to grow LiM2. Rhea and I cannot figure out what to do next. We don’t have the free time necessary to do the brain-storming, the research, the marketing to figure out how to move forward. We talk about things like mugs, calendars, note cards, planners, but then nothing happens. Perhaps we need to work on our growth mindset and our optimism. Or perhaps we just need to stick with writing? (And yes, we would LOVE your feedback about your ideas for LiM2.)

Do you have a growth mindset? Are you rid of pessimism and full of optimism? These are two virtues that will help you hone your own grit and reach your highest goals.

Optimism and a growth mindset are two virtues that will help you hone your own grit and reach your highest goals.

The movie, Hidden Figures, has recently been nominated for a number of hidden-figuresAcademy Awards. I hope you have seen it, and if you haven’t, put it on your must see list. This is a movie about many people with grit, but especially about 3 women who had an exponential amount of grit and have finally made history because of that grit. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when actress Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, African American mathematician working at NASA in the 1960’s, goes in front of a judge, asking for access to classes that are only offered in a white’s only segregated high school. She needs these classes to become an engineer. She did not go and whine to the judge about how she should be let in or how wrong segregation is. She did her research, knew her audience (the judge), played to his own interests, and was granted access. This woman had grit!!! All three of the women highlighted in this biographical drama had extraordinary grit.

So back to the question at the top of the blog? How ARE you doing with your new year’s resolutions? Have you lost your enthusiasm already? Perhaps you need to develop some grit, and try Duckworth’s Four Step Program. Is there a step that is missing?

Life is getting messier by the minute, Friends. Join us in developing personal grit and keep the marvelous happening.

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1 thought on “Year Two, Skill #36; Develop Some Personal Grit”

  1. Please keep writing your wonderful suggestions for leading a blessed and full life.
    I attended a presentation Amy gave at St. Augustine of Canterbury in Aiken and so look forward to Mondays and a new blog from either Amy or Rhea!

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