Success is a journey paved with challenges, setbacks, and moments of doubt. It’s a path that demands more than just talent or intelligence; it requires a special ingredient known as grit.
Grit is an unwavering determination, resilience, and perseverance that catapults individuals forward, even when faced with obstacles that may seem insurmountable. It’s the commitment to long-term goals, the ability to bounce back from failure, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.
So, what is the power of grit and how do you jump into this magical ingredient for success in your own life? Let’s explore the defining qualities of gritty individuals, unravel the psychology behind grit, and discover practical strategies for cultivating this essential trait.
Who Has Grit…and Where Did They Get It From?
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie
What do you think of when you hear the name Carnegie? Carnegie Hall in New York? Maybe you can reach back into the history annals of your middle school brain and remember the name from the expansion of the steel industry in the late 19th century? Well, hold onto your pants because Dale Carnegie isn’t related to either of these and wait until you find out why!
Dale Carnegie was born Dale Carnegey in 1888 in a small town in Missouri (Biography, 2022). After high school, he realized that sports weren’t his forte and decided to try theatre because he enjoyed public speaking. When he was cast in a leading role at a local theater, he thought this was the beginning of a future in acting. However, he absolutely despised the experience! He knew he had to rethink his plans and began to contemplate a different direction. He was told that he was a master with words, so how could he work with that? Friends were offering him money during his theater stint to teach them basic skills like interviewing, creating effective presentations, and building positive relationships (Biography, 2022). Carnegey decided to approach the local YMCA and ask if he could teach a night class on how to master these skills, and they agreed. This was the beginning of his launch into success.
His courses gained so much popularity that within two years, he moved out of the YMCA and created his own “Dale Carnegie Institute” to accommodate the number of students he had enrolled. By 1913, he published his first book titled “Public Speaking and Influencing Men of Business” (Biography, 2022). This became the textbook for his courses, and it is when he decided to do something even more amazing…
…he changed the spelling of his name to reflect the better-known name so he could associate himself with the famed family and their innumerable successes. Is this grit?
Well, maybe not on its own, but consider this: Carnegie knew that he had something going for his future. He was experiencing it firsthand, but he wanted more. He knew that his commitment to his craft and the obstacles he had encountered *might* be a little easier if people thought he was a Carnegie. So, he changed it, and guess what?
After publishing the famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” in 1936, he remains one of the better-known self-help authors and during his lifetime alone, sold over 5 million copies of his book (Biography, 2022).
Think back to when you first saw the quote at the beginning of this blog. Carnegie. Wasn’t your immediate reaction to associate him with THE Carnegies?
It worked. His grit – his unwavering determination to succeed and move past his obstacles and disappointments – made him timeless. A simple name change coupled with inner strength and determination just at the right moment catapulted him to success, and his timing was impeccable.
The Psychology Behind It
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
Success is NOT final, and failure is not the end of the world. How many people do you know or have followed as celebrities that just stop when they’ve become successful? How many have stopped pursuing their dreams when they have failed? …and what is the definition of success?
Success is defined differently by each person. While one may find success in building a family and living their days with a 401K and a moderate bank account, another may define it as becoming the CEO and retiring in Bora Bora in a mansion.
We define success as the point where we know that we have achieved our personal goals. But beyond that, success lies in not only maintaining those goals but building new ones and working towards them. Winston Churchill describes this in his quote – it is not simply about achieving success or falling into failure, but rather continuing to work towards bigger and better things regardless of the hurdles you may encounter.
There must be defining characteristics of someone who has grit, right?
Well, there are some guideposts that we can discuss because these characteristics are rooted in the essence of grit. People who have the unwavering determination and the willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, all possess these characteristics:
An individual who possesses grit must have a growth mindset. A growth mindset means that you believe in your potential, and you’re willing to put in effort, practice, and whatever education you require to achieve your goals. It means that there is no failure, but rather learning opportunities where you can improve. This mindset is the fuel to perseverance and determination.
It would be difficult to pursue a long-term goal without passion and purpose! Passion and purpose allow a person to truly believe in what they are striving for, and work towards their success. Passionate people enjoy what they are doing, and continuously seek out more information to enrich their journey. This allows them to dismiss challenges and obstacles because they possess an intrinsic motivation to move forward.
Resilience is CRUCIAL for grit. It is the ability to bounce back from failures, and to not allow any negativity or pressure to deter from achieving a goal. As Churchill mentioned, failure is not fatal – find the courage to use it as a steppingstone in your roadmap to success.
Self-Discipline and Self-Control is an important piece to grit. It means that an individual is capable of delaying gratification and resisting short-term temptation in the interest of achieving a long-term goal. We know that sometimes, goals take a while to accomplish. Possessing grit means you don’t allow this time to prevent you from envisioning the outcome in the name of instant gratification.
Perhaps the most important part of having grit is optimism. An individual that is working towards specific milestones in their life won’t allow negative influences to overtake their goals. Optimism can also be one of the most difficult characteristics to maintain because a slip up here and there can often feel like the end. However, through an optimistic mindset, a person can move past temporary failures and use them as opportunities to improve.
How Do I Incorporate Grit?
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pelé
Gritty individuals understand that success is a journey, not a destination, and they are willing to put in the effort, make sacrifices, and stay committed to their long-term goals. By cultivating grit, we can navigate the ups and downs of life with unwavering resolve, embrace failures as learning opportunities, and continue to pursue excellence despite obstacles.
Embrace the power of grit in your life, develop a growth mindset, fuel your passions, and surround yourself with a support system that uplifts and encourages you. Remember, success is not reserved for the naturally talented or gifted; it is within reach for those who are willing to persist and persevere. Dale Carnegie wasn’t a great student or a fantastic athlete. He didn’t come from the Carnegie family of fame or live with a silver spoon in Hollywood. He discovered his talents and capitalized on them, despite his challenges.
So, go forth, harness your grit, and unlock the doors to your own remarkable journey of success! We’re excited to watch your journey!
Biography. (2022) Dale Carnegie. Retrieved from www.biography.com