I’ve discovered something that is one of the greatest contributors to people’s success. I am deep into the world of sports with my five kids – from ages 10 to 19. There’s barely a weekend that has gone by the last 15 years that we haven’t been to a tournament of some kind. We have walked through a ton of disappointment, failure, tears – championships and successes, but I have always wondered, “Why are some athletes mentally stronger than others? Why do they stand out of from the crowd. How are they so good at overcoming failure? What sets them apart?” But this discovery isn’t limited to sports. It applies to the game of life. Some people succeed and overcome more regularly than others. They have a greater sense of purpose and they live a more meaningful life. Why? They possess something called grit.
In scientific studies this one characteristic has emerged again and again as a significant predictor of success. This extreme trait of self-discipline is known as, ‘mental toughness,’ or ‘grit.’ The people who learn this skill accomplish truly extraordinary things in life.
What’s interesting is that intelligence is only responsible for around 30% of people’s success. This dispels the myth that only the most gifted and talented succeed. This is good news for anyone who wants to succeed more often because if they excel in grit, there is a very high chance they can outperform those who don’t.
What is grit? According to Angela Duckworth, the researcher who discovered this personality trait, grit is, “Passion and perseverance for long term goals. It’s having stamina, sticking with your future, day in and day out.”
In her studies she discovered:
- Ivy League undergraduate students who had more grit also had higher GPAs than their peers — even though they had lower SAT scores and weren’t as “smart.”
- At the elite United States Military Academy, West Point, a cadet’s grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as “Beast Barracks.” Grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness.
- When comparing two people who are the same age but have different levels of education, grit (and not intelligence) more accurately predicts which one will be better educated.
- Competitors in the National Spelling Bee outperform their peers not because of IQ, but because of their grit and commitment to more consistent practice.
Understanding and applying grit and mental toughness will give anyone a huge competitive edge in a fractured world.
So what can you do to be different and make grit work for you? First, understand that your brain functions like a muscle. The more you utilize what I’m about to share with you, the sharper you can hone these skills. Building new neural pathways will take time, but once those connections in your brain are built, the results are powerful. You need to stick with it because it will take a little time to clear the cobwebs.
Here are three proven ways that will help you stand out from the crowd. [Read more…] about The Truth about Grit and Why You Need to Develop Mental Toughness