What is grit and why should you care?
Grit. Everybody's talking about grit. The word itself sounds uncomfortable, doesn't it? There's a sandpaper, chafing vibe associated with it. In the context of psychology, grit is your stick-to-itiveness. It's the combination of your passion and your persistence in pursing your goals.
You should care about grit because it's a more powerful indicator of your success than almost anything else--and it's a skill you can master when you want to.
Erik Hofmeister, DVM, DACVAA, DECVAA, MA, MS, is pretty gritty. (Anyone who has that many letters after their name must be!) He and I explored the topic of grit in depth.
One helpful framework Erik offered is asking yourself, "How do I respond when I fail?"
Failure is part of life. It means you tried and fell short. And it can hurt. But it can also help you learn, improve, and grow. How you think about failure has a lot to do with grit.
Perfectionism is a common trait among pet pros
Many try to avoid failure at all costs, which means they're less likely to dive into things they may not be good at. The thought of failing sparks anxiety inside. When they pursue difficult goals, they focus more on the gaps between where they are and the finish line than how far they've come. (I'll do a future episode on fixed vs growth mindset. This is a concept I wish I'd understood at a much younger age.)
Playing it safe doesn't teach you anything. We've all heard the adage, If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Trying again, that's grit.
Grit is deciding what's important to you and sticking with it. It requires you to develop an awareness of your choices, to make deliberate decisions, and to accept the consequences as the worthwhile cost of getting where you are going.
Grit isn't about steamrolling others or demanding your own way. It's about deciding, down deep inside, to reach your goals. Once you've made the decision, you just keep going.
How much grit do you have?
Curious about your own level of grit? Angela Duckworth is the foremost expert on grit. Use her grit scale to find out. Then watch the video below to learn about the elements of grit and how you can develop more of it.
What areas of your life do you have grit? Where would you like more? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Links worth clicking
- The Vetducator, Erik's blog
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth
- Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck
- Self-Compassion, The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Kristin Neff
- Previous episodes of UNLEASHED (at work & home):