It’s the gravel in your guts and the spit in your eye
As Johnny Cash’s song “A boy named Sue” goes, “this world is rough and if you’re gonna make it, you gotta be tough”. When you stumble, crash and bail hard, what is it that gives you the strength to get up, wipe the dust off and remount? GRIT. When you learn to unearth your grit you can stare into the heart of it all and push on with a smile.
Character, heart, will and the mind of a champion
It goes by different names, but it’s the secret sauce that makes athletes practice and allows them to dig deep when they need to. Athletes thrive on challenge and see failure not as evidence of inability, but as a checkpoint for growth and stretching abilities.
Grit is all about tenacity and an unwavering conviction to your beliefs. When we are in pursuit of a lofty goal, we don’t know when or even if we will succeed. Until we do. Grit combines passion, resilience, determination and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in the face of discomfort, rejection, failure and setbacks.
Act without knowing the result
Kids don’t wake up in the morning and say “How do I find fun?” they just go and have fun. There’s no uncertainty. They just act. As adults, we can’t go around acting like kids all the time, but we can be inspired by the essence of this.
When you decide to do things like quit your job, get into a relationship, buy that shiny new bike or move to a new city, we tend to analyze the crap out of it. Waiting for the unwavering yes/no decision to come to us. In reality, there’s no way of knowing, for certain, if what you’re doing is right or not…so most times we do nothing. We avoid making a decision. We avoid acting without knowing. And because we don’t act, our lives become incredibly monotonous and safe.—And we never get a taste of the zesty zone!
Grit demands risk taking
Perfection is an illusion—it doesn’t exist. The reality is if you don’t know what to do that’s okay, not knowing is the point. Life is all about not knowing, and then doing something anyway. If you fail, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
I suggest you sprinkle some of that zesty chaos into your life. A certain amount is healthy. It stimulates growth, passion and excitement. It will train you to simply start on something without knowing where in the hell it’s going. And while this will result in a thousand tiny failures, it will also likely result in your life’s greatest successes, relationships and experiences.
Nurture a gritty mindset
Have you heard of a growth mindset. It is the ability for an individuals to believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies and input from others). They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because growers worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.
Athletes who believe skills can be developed and honed through consistent training, evaluation and practice exhibit the growth mindset. As a competitor or participant in endurance sport, you must learn to embrace every event or training session as an opportunity to grow and develop your skill and fitness. If winning was all that mattered, no one would compete because the odds are often against them.
Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it
3 ways to increase a gritty mindset
- Shift your perspective to look risk and setbacks as an opportunity to learn. Like an athlete, embrace learning in every situation possible.
- Instead of focusing on success or failure, embrace the work and effort required to achieve progress. Focused effort is the more accurate judge of success than winning or losing.
- When faced with adversity or setbacks, embrace your mistakes and evaluate what led to them. Then devise a plan to minimize making the same or similar mistakes in future.