Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to Achieve Success with a Dose of Grit and Willpower

Dose of Grit and Willpower: How to Achieve Success

GRIT: Defined
To achieve success in any endeavor requires skill and knowledge, and a good dose of Grit and Willpower. Success comes to those that are able to endure through hardship and setbacks. 
Great accomplishments are found in athletic, business and personal stories with those individuals having modest levels of natural ability, educational background, IQ, or social standing.

There are many stories of great athletic performance that are told of the guy or gal that was too small, too slow, or did not go through the acceptable route to achieve at a high level. Some of these stories have been made into Hollywood Movies:



Michael Oher, "The Blind Side"

Rudy Ruettiger, "Rudy",

And then there are the teams of notable over achievers like the legendary upset victory of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team.

Overcoming personal obstacles are what makes for success in life, and sometimes these stories become legend. There are those that have succeeded despite physical handicap, like Amy Palmiero-Winters, that ran a marathon in 3 hours and 4 minutes after losing a leg in accident. She was quoted, "nothing good is ever easy and is never done alone".

+Les Dossey  emphasizes that getting Gritty is a "journey not a sprint".




These stories demonstrate that with willpower and grit you can be inspired to overcome adversity despite physical limitations, or lack of natural physical ability. This is held true to pursuing a business opportunity, mastering a new skill, our children's education and health pursuits.

What often gets in our way is ourselves', this constant battle between what we want to do and what we should do. Acting with willpower, or that ability to resist short-term temptations in order to reach long-term visions, or goals. +Kelly McGonigal a leading authority on willpower, and author of Willpower Instinct explains that(see video) controlling willpower is all about understanding the psychology of willpower.


"The biggest enemies of willpower:temptation, self-criticism, and stress. (...) these three skills - self-awareness, self-care, and remembering what matters most -- are the foundation for self-control".  - Kelly McGonigal

You can strengthen your Willpower by these three ways:

  • Plan for times when your self-control is depleted. Do not grocery shop when you are hungry, and tired from a long day of work.
  • Exercise you willpower muscle. By regularly working on your willpower through mental and emotional challenges you are actually strengthening your self-control for the long-term.
  • Drink a glass of Fresh Fruit Juice. Glucose provides a dose of blood sugar that helps with mental function, and willpower.


Achieving success must have a strong dose of willpower, and that ability to look at how your present actions require attention for future, long-term benefit.

What is Grit?

Showing up to do the work, over and over. Spending extra hours scouring through game film and opponent tendencies. Listening to book on tape, or a YouTube video on learning and doing by  +Timothy Kenny , writing between the lines of a book, making note cards and studying them in short chunks of time, all add up to a single-minded focus on a task. This is GRIT. It is a consistency of passion and effort in the face of struggle or obstacles. It is not about how your actions benefit a short-sighted goal, but that which adds to the skill and knowledge for the long-term goal. Effort builds knowledge and skill.

Maria Popova of Brainpickings says it best,
"Character is at least as important as intellect"
as she reviews the work of McArthur Genius Award winner, Angel Duckworth.





Angel Duckworth - "...have the qualities of dogged perseverance and sustained passion toward long term goals. she coined a term for this quality: GRIT. Duckworth believed GRIT could predict success above and beyond traditional metrics of intelligence such as IQ."



Research by Duckworth suggests that Grit is as influential to high achievement as intelligence.


How Much Grit do You Have?

Take the Short GRIT Scale to see how Gritty you are. 

Positive character traits of self-control, willpower and grit can benefit, and add skill and knowledge. The energy put forth to achieving a goal comes in the form of extra effort, or spending time on a task, and having passion toward what you are striving for.


Elements to successfully build achievement:

  • Speed of thought about a task. This is in terms of knowledge and skill a person has about a task.
  • Executing deliberate planning, creativity and reflection are slow processes that improve the outcome.
  • The ability to accumulate information in a specific unit of time, that becomes knowledge, on a given task. 
  • The more time on a task, or effort, will benefit the knowledge and skill needed to achieve a goal.

Personal achievement in your life endeavors is an element of well-being, and one that will allow you to flourish in your personal, business and health pursuits. Building willpower to resist the short-term temptations that obstruct what we desire, and perseverance and determination is the "true grit" influencing your ultimate achievement and success in life.

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