Ask me about… grit.


No, you may not crawl!!!

In this particular case, the final leg of the Mooloolaba Triathlon, crawling is not an option. But sometimes, achieving your goals requires determination and resilience right, and I’m pretty sure that crawling to any finish line would earn you those two badges. That, is the concept of GRIT, and crawling, is still ok. That’s what I feel like sometimes. Going so slowly towards my goals and not seeing a lot of progress, is tough, but I’m determined…

We define grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and pla- teaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappoint- ment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.  –

Duckworth A. L, Peterson C., Matthews M. D., Kelly D. R. 2007 Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals.

So the researchers here have developed a test, that can help to quantify the level of “grit” one displays as a personality trait. They have done extensive studies to show that this dimension is perhaps a key factor in personal performance and achievement, more so maybe than elements of talent and IQ. The conclusions of their testing found that grit was a bigger predictor of success across many different applicationsm, the implication being that teaching and encouraging gritty behaviour was preferable to praising talent or outcome.

Take the test yourself HERE.

What did you get? It’s tough to easily answer quickly because it’s context specific in some cases I think. But it’s interesting none the less. It’s like what my mother always told me, “you can do anything you put your mind to!” But the important take away I missed from that communication from my mother was that it was more about the time and perseverance rather than talent or brains.

So how much time and dedication are we talking here? Certainly if you look at the questions from the test, I always thought they were implying months and years. Finishing a degree – I’m going to say it – I believe shows a certain amount of grit. Me, along with ~11 000 of my close personal friends who graduated with a degree from my University last year, have shown strength in the face of adversities and persevered to complete a long term goal. WE HAVE GRIT.

The amount, well, some of us coasted through applying ourselves as little as possible and stayed ahead of the pass mark by the bare minimum. They have grit, because they still finished. But some of us, who stayed at home some Saturday nights, and crept into bed late more often than not, have more.

What the hardest thing though, which is no revelation, is keeping sight of the prize, with minimum feedback and rewards along the way. That is what I struggle with, and more so when it comes to creating a future. Applications, job searches, resume building, cover letter writing, interview preparation, interview attending and networking event, it’s a tiring list. I am not alone in feeling this, and take a little solace in that fact, but I take more solace in knowing that potentially, the more grit I demonstrate, the closer to something I get, and potentially that something is the goal I have my eyes on.

For the record I scored 4.38 on the grit test, which was less than Shambles unfortunately (not that we are competitive), but that steeled my resolve a little, and in the same thought reminded me of every crappy motivational picture ever. I however, am not a kitten hanging onto a table-top, treading water if you will, I would prefer to think that I have finally gotten the hint from my mother and am putting hand in front of knee, and crawling toward my finish line, even though I know that finish line will change. Dammit.



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