Grit is proven to be the number one factor to determine who will succeed in different scenarios. I’ve been looking into how to build grit with Fraser Williams, we’ve written this blog together. You can find Fraser’s blog here.
Angela Lee Duckworth went on a mission to find out what separates those who excel from those who don’t.
In her TED talk – The key to success? Grit – she reveals that grit is the number one factor to determine who will succeed in different scenarios. She defines grit as passion and perseverance for long term goals. Viewing life as a marathon, not a sprint.
Fraser and I believe that ‘grit’, in simple terms, is the ability to constantly put yourself in positions where you feel challenged and uncomfortable.
However, she ends the talk with the question, how do you get grit? For us, we believe sport is a school for grit.
My sporting life has been in badminton. Having started playing from a very early age I have had lots of success as a junior, representing Wales on numerous occasions and competing in the Junior Europeans.
Fraser’s sporting experience is in Taekwondo. He trained from the age of 8, and achieved the rank of third degree black belt at the age of 18. He went on to fight for the national squad in the European championships.
How does sport develop grit?
The nature of sport demands commitment and hard work with a conscious effort to implement it. To improve in sport, hours of dedication to training are required, discipline in maintaining health and well-being is important and a competitive side is built up in athletes.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
– Muhammad Ali
Every athlete will tell you about the importance of training and so they don’t think twice about it. Early morning runs, hours and hours in the gym or at practice and countless loses learnt from.
Athletes build up a discipline to ‘give it everything’ at training, as that’s where they improve and grow. It’s a form of mental resilience.
This attitude is natural to people competing in sport. David Williams wrote a very popular article in Forbes magazine, explaining why companies should hire ‘athletes’. He highlights the traits of athletes that are developed in sport, and how they impact a person’s day to day actions.
“Athletes have the drive to practice a task rigorously, relentlessly, and even in the midst of failure until they succeed”
– David Williams
Hence, grit really boils down to your ability to set a goal, and boldly take each step regardless of how you feel inside. The process of acquiring grit is both complex and simple…
Complex: Build the habit of ‘willingness to put myself in uncomfortable situations’. Once you have this incredible habit built up, incoming challenges will become much more achievable, and your ‘yes I’ll do it’ response will be almost automatic. The challenges may not be less scary, but they will become doable, because you’ve built up the mental resilience required.
Simple: Do the thing. Do it constantly. Teach yourself that challenges are always scary, but facing them will build up a habit that enables you to face them.
How do we build the habit of grit day-to-day?
Fraser and I suggest you can cultivate grit through dedication to a sport. With sport, we have learnt that you have to go to battle time and time again in training, before you can lift the trophy.
Sign up to something you enjoy, then go to battle at every training session.
Develop mental resilience that will become the habit of ‘grit’.
Then, once something comes up that scares you, you’ll have the ability to walk boldly towards it.