Recently, a reader shared that his secret for success was based on the four-letter word 'grit'. His recipe to get ahead in life was to stay focused on his tasks, find ways to overcome any obstacles that might arise along the way, and work diligently and consistently until his goals were realised.
Speaking on a TED Talks Educational video, psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth explained that grit is "passion and perseverance for very long-term goals". Grit is having the stamina to keep working at your important tasks every day, over many years, until you have accomplished your objectives.
Duckworth, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania who researches educational achievement, posited that grit is a better indicator of a student's success than factors such as IQ. This trait may be even more critical than natural abilities or other determinants of achievement.
Grit trumps talent
"Talent doesn't make you gritty," Duckworth asserted. "There are many talented people who do not follow through on their commitments." In fact, the psychologist revealed that research showed that a person's level of grit is often unrelated or even inversely related to measurements of talent.
Aesop's fable of the hare and the tortoise is a perfect example of grit in action. Although the tortoise had less natural ability to run than his faster contender, the slower creature's resilience won the race. With grit, you will keep plodding on towards the finish line, no matter how long it takes.
Grit influences your goals
Like educational achievement, true grit is also essential when it comes to personal success. Many people fail to accomplish their goals, whether simple or expansive, simply because they lack the fortitude to continue taking the required steps until they have attained their objectives.
The problem is that many people give up too soon. If immediate results are not forthcoming, they believe that their efforts are in vain and quit working at the task. It's important to understand that success is not instantaneous; it is a "progressive realisation of a worthy goal", as Earl Nightingale declared.
Grit affects your money
Persons who lack grit in their money tasks are less likely to attain financial success. For example, if they decide to make a budget to control their overspending, they don't have the grit to keep track of costs and fill out all their expense items until they have calculated their monthly income shortfall.
A deficiency of grit can also cripple people's efforts in saving and investing. It requires discipline to forgo immediate gratification and consistently put away money towards a future benefit; without this level of fortitude, it will be difficult to amass significant and lasting wealth.
Grit improves your work
Thomas Edison is credited for the quote, "Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration." The prolific inventor emphasised the importance of persevering and working hard over long periods when he declared that "Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."
Many people say that they want to earn more money, yet they are not prepared to work hard for a long time to get it. They will often try different ways to generate part-time income, but a lack of stamina leads them to quit their money-making ventures at the first signs of rejection or failure.
Developing true grit
If you recognise that you lack the grit required to achieve your money goals, the good news is that this trait is learnable. Once you have decided on your overall objectives, identify the tasks that are needed to accomplish them, and slot these activities into your daily or weekly schedule.
Many people stop working at their tasks because their early efforts are not impressive or successful. Understand that if you practise an activity every day, over time you will become very accomplished at it. Just commit to keep practising until perfection comes, and you will be displaying true grit.
Direct your grit wisely
One reason why gritty people succeed is that they have tunnel vision when it comes to their goals and ignore the naysayers who try to discourage them. Unfortunately, they may also become inflexible about making directional changes when circumstances require them to adjust their strategies.
Although you may be willing to go all-out in your efforts to achieve your goals, it's important to ensure that your efforts are properly directed in the first place. Grit can actually be negative if you are working on the wrong goals or if your activities are not aligned with your objectives.
I like this quote from actor Will Smith who grittily declared, "I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me; you might be smarter than me... but if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die."
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.