How Grit Plays An Important Role When Honing Any Skill
Grit is defined by Angela Duckworth as the passion and perseverance for long term goals. In today’s society, there is a vast pool of talents but having grit is what sets you apart! One of my favourite quotes is by Lionel Messi in which he said: “I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.”
It isn’t just about that one day of success but the hard work in harnessing a skill. It’s true that it may months, years, and even decades to be good at a skill even if it means working on the same thing over and over again! This is why grit is so important to help you stick to honing your skills diligently and growing them day by day.
Angela Duckworth defines this as having a passion and a purpose that causes you to be driven by something larger than yourself, whether it means you are honing a skill for success, to bring a positive change to the world, or even for your family members and loved ones. Here are some ways that you can build grit when honing a skill:
1. Look for purpose, dig deep for passion.
It helps tremendously to know your ‘why’ when it comes to building a specific skill. Is it because you feel a sense of great interest in it? Is it to use it to motivate other people? Or is it to help a family’s financial situation? To educate the poor and illiterate? Or even just to be someone successful?
When you are able to identify that passion or find a sense of purpose when doing something, it creates a desire to keep working and improving at it. These skillsets could be getting good at an instrument, a language, a business strategy, or even a specific subject! But, what if you can’t find something that you are passionate about?
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to start with:
- What do I like?
- What am I doing now that I would not mind doing it for the next few months or years?
- What has been something consistent in my interests?
- Is there a skill set that I know a little bit that I can grow into something bigger?
2. Practice, rest, practice.
Practice makes perfect!
This a very commonly used phrase, but the point is… PRACTICE! Intentionally practising a skill is so important! Set aside a time in the day to practice your craft. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time or make you look an expert in a day. But the point is to practice it little by little and stick to it consistently! You are the only one who truly knows your capabilities and limits. Don’t slack off; push yourself to cultivate consistency in your practice.
Don’t forget to rest too! Giving yourself some rest allows you to relax and release any form of stress or mental blocks. Rest is always essential to avoid burnout. This allows you to build a routine and momentum for you to work on a skill to be better!
3. Adopt a growth mindset.
Our mindset plays a vital role in determining success. Adopting a growth mindset allows you to believe that you can get better at something, as long as you put in the effort and grow at it!
According to Stanford University Psychologist Carol Dweck, having a growth mindset means believing that your basic qualities can be cultivated through your efforts. For example, if you want to be good at cooking, you can do it if you truly believe that cooking is a skill that you can adapt and improve. On the other hand, with a fixed mindset, it involves an either/or and black/white thinking: either you are good at it, or you are just not!
Take a step back and examine your perception on honing your skills right now, do you adopt a fixed or growth mindset? Think about ways you can gradually shift your mindset to a more growth-focused one and slowly cultivate it that it becomes your norm.
4. Embrace failure; cling on to hope!
Failure is inevitable, but don’t allow that to deter you from working on your goals and improving your skills. Embrace failure and the thought that you might fail at your goals. This gives you the courage to get back up every time you fall, but to also know that failure isn’t the end of your story.
Clinging on to hope enables you to view endless possibilities for success and growth; even as you fail. Reshape your mindset to see that achieving your long-term goals is possible and reachable.
5. Read books and listen to podcasts that build your grit.
Reading books shapes your mind, and so does what you’re listening to! Hence, surrounding yourself with materials that can grow your grit will broaden your perspective and mind.
Here are some materials you can start with:
- Book: Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
- Podcast: No Stupid Questions by Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth
- Podcast: Finding Mastery by Henry Fraser
The most important thing about grit is that you don’t give up. Keep pushing through, practising, and finding ways that help you stick to your goals. Take it one day at a time. Sometimes, all you need to do is show up and try, even if you don’t feel at your best!