Grit, Its Characteristics, And Everything In Between!

The True Meaning of Grit and its Characteristics

The dictionary defines grit as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit." Angela Ducksworth defines it as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." Behind the meaning of grit, there are 5 characteristics that a person would normally have if they had grit. This includes courage, conscientiousness, endurance for long-term goals, resilience, and excellence vs. perfection.

In order to understand grit, you need to know the things that make it up. First off, courage. Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one, which is ideal for persevering. To persevere, you need to step out of your comfort zone, and courage is the first step in doing so. The second characteristic is conscientiousness, which means the propensity to be arranged, accountable, and possess a strong work ethic. This is useful because it connects with perseverance to achieve short-term goals. Third, endurance helps one persevere because it is the tolerance that pushes a person to reach their goal. The fourth characteristic is resilience, and this can almost be a synonym for the word perseverance itself. Resilience is how someone adjusts to misfortune or change, and is also how someone moves past a hardship. Lastly, the fifth 'trait' isn't necessarily an actual trait that someone can withhold, but acts more as a lesson that gives the reader a new perspective on perseverance and grit. Excellence vs. perfection shows how 2 different goals have different outcomes. Excellence is easier to obtain and has smaller and less difficulties considering it is a goal you set for yourself. Perfection is not as easy because it has more challenging things that need to be overcome along the way and is more of a goal that society sets for you rather than what you set for yourself. Overall, grit is one main idea with 5 different traits that expand the idea of perseverance and helps a person persevere more throughout their life.

Excellence vs. Perfection

Of the 5 grits, one of them acts more as a moral that can help a person understand grit more; and this is excellence vs. perfection. Every person who plans on persevering has some sort of goal that they want to accomplish, and these are just 2 vague ones that are commonly used.

First off, excellence. This is distinct from the goal of perfection because excellence is usually a goal that you set for yourself and is something within the range of things that you want to achieve, not someone else. To reach excellence, you usually are trying to reach the original goal you set and there is always a chance of it changing or expanding along the way, but perfection is a goal that is never ensured. It isn't easy to easily describe distinctions between excellence and perfection, considering every one has something different that they want to succeed at. So, based on an average person, someone trying to be 'perfect' would have a harder time and it would also take longer. This is due to the fact that there is no limit to perfection and once someone believes that they have reached it, more expectations will be piled onto them so that they can be even more 'perfect.' Excellence would take a shorter time and would be easier because you are only trying to obtain what you believe is excellence and you are overcoming obstacles that come in your way because of the specific goal you set, not what society or anyone else set. Despite all of these differences, excellence and perfection both are goals that someone is trying to reach. Yet, they have different values. But, excellence and perfection are also different because of the length and amount of hardships that come along the way. Perfection causes each and every mistake to be fixed and it has to be done well enough to reach society's standards. Therefore, difficulties of perfection take longer and are larger. Excellence has smaller and shorter problems because they do not need to be overcome all the way to the point where they are perfect and only need to be succeeded enough for you to feel accomplished. In conclusion, there aren't many things that excellence and perfection have in common, mostly because perfection is more of a fantasy and involves never ending perseverance, unlike excellence which is quite the opposite.

Resilience in 3 Steps

Throughout the course of our lives, we have been told to come up with goals that we want to achieve, but figuring out how to reach that specific goal is something that we were expected to learn on our own. This closely ties to perseverance because that is the main trait in trying to accomplish your goal. Another trait, which can also relate to perseverance is resilience. Resilience is how you adjust to misfortune or change, and when trying to obtain a goal, there will definitely be misfortunes that need to be overcome or adjusted to.

Step 1
First, the main and most obvious thing to do is to set a reasonable goal for yourself. The only way to know if your goal is obtainable, is to ask yourself so. Is this something I will be able to succeed? Will all my effort be enough? If not, can I still reach success? There's more questions that you can ask, but the main thing to know is if it is humanly possible to reach your 'destination.'

Step 2

Next, you have to break down what you are trying to achieve and make it more do-able. Imagine someone trying to gain success in one step and doing everything all at once; that would be very overwhelming. To persevere and be resilient, there are usually various restrictions that you will face, which is why you need to narrow it down into small steps.

Step 3

Lastly, the hardest step (which is still incredulously easy, yet nerve-wracking), take your first step. Use resilience and endurance and start going down the road that will lead you to success. After this, continue taking steps and eventually, after facing problems and points where you want to give up, you will succeed.

Problem and Solution: Courage

In elementary, middle, and high school, your education and GPA are among some of the most important things that will get you through life, but most of the time we just settle for average. As a middle school student, I know how it feels to not want to raise my hand or participate in class because I do not want others to see me fail or struggle. By doing this, surely my education suffers a bit because I don't ask the necessary questions that will help me further on in life. For people who do volunteer, they display courage, because it takes guts to contribute in class and possibly get your answer rejected.

Terry McGlynn says that to fix this, it should be a responsibility on the adults part because they should be interacting everyone so the students do not get used to sitting back and letting everyone else answer. As a student, I would agree because I would not want to draw any unwanted attention onto myself, but logically, we should also be the ones to cooperate without being told to do so. Or, as many people would say, we "shouldn't care what anyone else thinks." But words aren't always put into action.

It isn't easy to tell someone how to fix something in their mind. People have different ranges of self confidence and don't always agree with getting attention; even if it is for a short period of time. Grit is an overall hard topic to teach people about because everyone has a different mind and a different way to view things. Therefore, to gain courage you should do whatever is necessary, even though it may not be in your comfort zone. Although, some possible solutions would be overcoming the disorder completely, learning to deal with it, or controlling it more so it does not affect your daily life as much. Eventually, you should be able to have made an impact some sort of way because you were courageous and stepped out of your normal range of comfort. Trust me, when you're looking back at your life years later, you'll be thankful for the boost of confidence and the new skill of courage.

Persevering through Mental Disorders; Cause & Effect

Resilience means adjusting to misfortune and/or change, but what exactly causes these misfortunes and what does it take to overcome them? There are a lot of things that can trigger someone wanting to overcome a problem, and one example is from someone who we can call Ramona. Ramona has something called PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), which means that she often feels lonely and has anxiety. This is the misfortune that Ramona has to overcome, and it has different effects. This goes for every other situation that involves one who perseveres and is pushed beyond their normal limit to reach different heights.

Many other people struggle with mental disorders that have their own medical causes and effects. But the same goes for the causes and effects that occur after being resilient and during. There's numerous people who would simply say "Get over it." This is an example of a negative cause for wanting to be resilient. Hateful comments and peer pressure are two things that can make a person feel obligated to make themselves fit into our society. For effects, it (once again) depends on how the person chooses to persevere and how much effort they put into it. If they put all their effort into it, they will most likely have a bigger impact, and someone who does not put much effort into it will have a smaller impact. Let's take a person with OCD for example. They may be getting criticized for the fact that they are a perfectionist. To resolve this, they might take time to slowly get used to things not being perfect and, despite this being difficult, eventually there will be an outcome; even if this outcome is very little. Overall, resilience occurs for certain reasons and this effects the outcome of the problem. But, all of this occurs because of perseverance and having grit.