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All Successful People have this in Common

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All Successful People have this in Common

Can you guess the one surprising factor that separates West Point cadets who finish the grueling “Beast Barracks” initiation from those who don’t?
It’s not strength… speed… or smarts. 

It’s GRIT — aka the passion and perseverance to reach your long-term goals — and it’s a huge component of mental toughness and taking personal responsibility for your outcomes. 

And it can play a big role in helping YOU to reach your goals, too.

Psychologists were interested in what led cadets to drop out during their West Point initiation, so they ran a study that spanned 9 different classes.  Now to even get into West Point, you have to go through a long and demanding approval process that can take a couple of years… Including being nominated by a member of the U.S. Congress! 
Before classes start, the new cadets are put through “Beast Barracks” initiation.  It’s tough — and it’s designed to push them to their limit, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  And even though they’d already been through an intense process that tested their commitment to getting in… about 3% of cadets usually end up QUITTING during Beast Barracks.

Scientists developed a “grit scale” that measured this trait in the cadets. (The psychologist who came up with the scale has an online “grit” quiz here: https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale)


They found that those who were just one standard deviation higher on the grit scale were 60% more likely to finish the Beast Barracks than their peers.

But it turns out, “grit” isn’t only important for cadets: Grit (not IQ) plays a big role in both National Spelling Bee competitors and Ivy League students with high GPAs.  They put in the work to make their goals come to life.
“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson
The best part? 
You have control over your perseverance!  And the scientist that developed the grit scale says you can improve your grit factor!

How do we do that?  By pursuing goals that interest us and by practice, practice, practice. 

Building resilliance and grit varies from person to person and is influenced by our culture. Still, the American Psychological Association offers 10 ways to build resilience that just about anyone can do.

  1. If you are not a social person, becoming more social (i.e., purposely connecting with others) can help.
  2. Get control over how you respond to the adverse events you experience.
  3. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus gets credit for saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Get used to it. Sometimes a goal needs to be abandoned because it is no longer attainable. The inability to accept things that we cannot change is a futile pursuit.
  4. Apply the Kaizen principle to your goals. Start with the absolute smallest component that relates to the larger, long-term goal. As Walt Disney famously said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
  5. Commit to making decisions when you find yourself in a tough situation. There is no room for wishy-washy actions.
  6. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we struggle through a bad experience. How have our relationships grown? How have we gained strength or perspective?
  7. Forget negative self-talk. Trust that you know yourself better than anyone else, and you have the intelligence and power to make forthright decisions. You can solve problems as they arise.
  8. Bad things will happen. Try to think about them from a lifelong perspective. Draw a line on a paper representing the day you were born to the age you believe you will die. Mark off significant life events, positive and negative along that line. Place a line on that paper that represents your current age. Put a dot on that line to mark the current adversity. In the grand scheme of your life, how significant is that dot? When you look back at past events, how much or how little do they affect your life now?
  9. Practice optimism. This is not a denial of the bad. It is an acknowledgment of the good and what is possible in your life.
  10. Practice self-compassion, get some exercise, learn something new, and spend time laughing.

Not surprisingly, doing several of those 10 things can also help you develop grit.

Angela Duckworth created the Grit Scale to measure people’s grittiness. It is a 10-question, Likert-type survey. You rate your level of agreement with each statement. Your grit score ranges from 0.0 to 5.0. The higher the score, the grittier you are as compared to the results of other American adults who participated in the most recent study (though this is not specifically identified.) Results are immediately provided.

She has a great book about her research - you can purchase or download from Amazon HERE.


So, let’s get after it today!  

What one thing can you do toward your goals to develop your grit factor?

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