Will Smith asks if you're "getting jiggy wit it" ..... I ask you, are you "getting gritty with it"?
Well ..... are you?
Grit is the new buzz word in education and positive psychology circles, but in and of itself, it is not a new concept. Being gritty has been around for a long time, but a lot of people don't know exactly what it is, what it means for them, and what it means on an academic and psychological level that can actually provide us with a pathway to getting more "gritty with it." So what is grit and how can it help you achieve success?
I recently attended a Positive Education Conference, where I was privileged to see Grit expert, Angela Duckworth (a fellow admirer of Will Smith), speak about her research into grit. For Angela, grit is a collection of concepts, skills, and habits that you can implement into your own life, to lead to greater success. Here are 3 of those concepts, skills, and habits, that you can bring into your life right now, to prepare you for school, uni, work, that you may be starting in September:
1. Grit in itself is more of a predictor of success then IQ - Grit is a skill that you can pick up and run with on a day to day basis, and if you do increase your grit "strength" you are more likely to see success then someone with a higher IQ who hasn't developed their grit. This is great news, right? Right. Because it means that no-matter your starting point, you can achieve your goals. A good way to keep track of where you are grit-wise is to do Angela Duckworth's grit score test (another test!!!! I hear you say). It is a test that will help you see where you are at and where you can go, check it out here - Grit Score Test. Take it now to get a base-line score (mine, at the moment, is 3.75 ... a little lower then I expected, but it has given me a starting point, to where I can now look at my habits and skills and get more "gritty with it"), implement some of the advice below, and then take it again in 6 months time and see if your grit score has gone up.
2. Deliberate practice is the key - "Of course, I practice every day, I practice my sport, my hobbies, my school work, but why is that not working?" It may not be working if you are just "practicing" by going through the motions. To really build grit and success you need to practice, well, deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is knowing exactly what practice will work (and this links to the lower goals that Angela talks about, but more about lower goals, mid-range goals, and higher goals below), and turning up each and every day with focus and intention to this practice. For example, when I was swimming the reason that I kept on improving, year after year, wasn't just because my fitness was good due to my constant show up to training, but because each training session I focused on the little things, on adjusting my stroke, practicing my turns and starts, trying to improve my training times for different sets. Just showing up isn't enough, you have to deliberately be present and focused on what it is that you want to work on and improve.
3. Lower, Mid, and Higher goals .... can't I just set A goal? - When Angela talks about lower, mid, and higher level goals, she is essentially talking about what I talk about in RWS - the goal journey (or goal mapping). When you discover your passion and purpose, you create your higher goal, this is essentially set in stone (though not really, I believe in some flexibility in your higher goal). To reach your higher goal you need to set mid level goals (goals that are smaller and more mundane then the larger goal, but necessary to achieve if you want to reach that higher goal), And to reach those mid level goals, and ultimately your higher goal, you have the lower level goals, but these goals are rather flexible, can fail, can create obstacles, but because of their lower necessity for achieving the higher goal, can be interchanged or abandoned for another. It is a mapping system, providing you with stepping stones that you can work on and achieve every day, whilst still keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Grit is a crucial skill to develop in your life, whether you are starting your GCSE's, A-Level's, Uni, or work, so get some grit in your life and get those goals happening!