What Does it Mean to Have Grit? -$200 Millionaire Weighs In


Grit is perhaps one of the human characteristics that you probably most respect and admire.

Recently, I was listening to a podcast by Gary V. (est. net worth $200 Million).

During an interview a guy asked Gary about being gritty; what it has to do with getting to your goals and knowing when it’s time to give up and pursue something else.

I’m paraphrasing, but Gary said that there is a fine line between grit and delusion.

I’ll tell you more about what he said in a moment, but first, let’s get a better understanding of what grit is and what it isn’t.

Angela Lee Duckworth answered this question in her book, “Grit the Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

Let’s move on to the meaning of grit as a personality trait and the amount of grit you need to make things happen for yourself.

The Theory of Grit – What Successful People Tap into to Get Better Results

So, what does it mean to have true grit? Grit is the strength of character that allows people to persevere when faced with disruptive events, difficulties, and setbacks. True grit involves possessing a deep passion and confidence in oneself and a high-degree of perseverance to work through challenges.

Grit literally means sand or gravel, and if you have ever walked around with gravel in your shoes, your feet will give up long before the sand does.

In day to day life, grit means living at your edge long-term; going all out for something you believe in so passionately that it propels you towards ideal change.

Here is what author and speaker Angela Duckworth says about grit.

According to Duckworth’s research: Gritty people possess a combination of passion and perseverance.

Passion for the goal, belief in your ability to achieve that goal, and tenacity when faced with obstacles or failure.

The good news is that grit can be taught, learned and developed as long as you don’t have a fixed mindset.

Without deliberate practice, fear of failure holds most people back.

Being able to deal with hard things isn’t something you can buy–it’s a mindset cultivated through opportunities for practice, it’s about developing stamina to endure long term.

“Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

Angela Duckworth (Ted Talk).

The definition of grit is the tenacious pursuit of long-term goals in the face of challenges.

What are the 21 Character Traits of Grit?

Here is a list of common traits observed in gritty individuals.

Which characteristic or trait do you identify with the most?

Here are some synonyms and characteristics of grit that describe what the concept of grit looks like in the wild.

  1. Mental Toughness
  2. Perseverance and Passion
  3. Courage to Act in the Face of Fear
  4. Firmness of Character
  5. Don’t Give Up in the Face of Failure
  6. Indomitable Spirit
  7. Intensity of Mind
  8. Endurance
  9. Self Control
  10. Determined for Success
  11. Purpose Oriented
  12. Resilience
  13. Self Discipline
  14. Do Things with a Sense of Purpose
  15. Believe Practice Can Get You There
  16. Dynamic Combination of Optimism and Hard Work
  17. Capable of Defining Long Term Goals
  18. Consider Their Goals Worth Pursuing
  19. Focus on What is Happening Rather Than Why It is Happening
  20. Constantly Challenging Themselves
  21. Understand That the Ceiling of Potential Can Be Broken

According to psychologists and researchers, surprisingly grit doesn’t have much to do with intelligence, iq score, innate talent, natural ability, upbringing, a commitment to excellence, or even specific habits.

The trait that is probably most important is resilience. If you are interested in developing these traits, I recommend reading David Goggin’s book “Can’t Hurt Me.

If you are anything like me, when I heard that it wasn’t based on intelligence, natural talent or IQ, I was like “SCORE.”

That means you can excel at what you have a desire for and don’t have to rely on talent alone. Talent isn’t the precursor to success.

That means that any person with a desire for something shouldn’t give up.

When you change your mindset that effort counts, and get out of your comfort zone, you will discover you are the road of high achievement.

Students don’t have to be the best in their class to go on to do amazing things. I’m amazed at what role grit plays in the world of achievement. A little bit goes a long ways when it comes to mental toughness and the level of grit you need to achieve what you want.

The next time you fail and wonder how much grit it will take to get back on track, remember this.

Even though you may have failed in the past, the factors that contribute to creating your destiny are understanding that it’s not about intelligence, (so you can do it) and simply not giving up when circumstances don’t go your way.

Nothing has to stop you or your team from excellence.

In fact, if you are willing to stick to your interests longer than your peers, you have a better chance at having success than someone who has all the raw talent and no drive or who isn’t a team player.

Grit Vs. Delusion

How do you know if you have grit or dealing with delusion?

First, we should define delusion. Delusion and delusional thinking is an irrational belief that is not based on reality.

A person with delusion may believe they’re being followed, for example, but when questioned about it they can’t explain why or where the idea came from.

More broadly defined: delusions are beliefs grounded in fantasy rather than fact and that doesn’t match up with objective reality.

Aren’t all short and long-term goals rooted in fantasy?

Especially if you are trying to achieve any goal that you currently have never reached?

If you look at Bob Proctor’s Thinking Into Results training, he teaches you to set a “C” type goal.

A goal that is so big that if you achieved it, it would blow your socks off. It has to be a goal that inspires you almost on a cellular level.

Just for clarity, Bob teaches that A-type goals are goals you’ve achieved in the past and you know you can achieve, B-type goals are goals that you think that you can achieve with a little more effort.

But C-type goals are goals that you’ve never achieved and quite frankly don’t have any idea how you might achieve them.

The key is that it has to really inspire you and kind of scare you at the same time.

What does it mean when a person has grit? As a general rule, a person is said to have grit when they are persistent despite circumstances that make it appear as though their goal is impossible.

While others are quitting, gritty individuals press on when there doesn’t seem to be much hope.

2.5 years ago, Kat and I sat at the breakfast table. She told me she wanted to lose weight, grow a butt, and do a bikini competition.

Being the supportive loving husband that I am, I said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” She said, “You don’t know me anymore. Just wait you’ll see.”

I can’t remember the order exactly, but Kat put images of a bikini contestant on her vision board in her room. I remember thinking that she has been trying to lose weight for so long, this ain’t never gonna happen.

Fast forward to this past weekend.

She stood on stage in the transformation bikini division of the WBFF.

Although I’d say that I see Kat as courageous, I’d never guess she would ever stand half-naki on the stage. That’s just not her and ranks pretty high on the grit scale. She is otherwise simply too modest.

Here’s the funniest part!

Who knew that Six Pack Lolli and his film crew would be filming the entire event. His number was 246, and Kat’s was 247.

So, she might be on your big screen in the follow up documentary soon, which is hilarious considering how the idea of being on stage in front of a room was enough to make her squeamish.

I highly recommend watching his transformation documentary on Amazon. Here’s the trailer:

When I reached out to 6-Pack Lolli to get permission to post his picture, he told me to let you know that for the summer of 2021, he is doing a transformation challenge with $100k in prizes.

He said you can check it out here.

Radical Body Transformations -Lose with Lolli – Summer Challenge

Back to grit:

Right there in the crowd clapping for her. I saw the difference between delusion and grit.

Grit is not buying into what people around you say.

Grit can appear as a delusion to everyone around you. But grit is more about resonance within you.

Grit resides in a place deep inside you that says if I can do this “thing,” if I can master this skill if I can accomplish this goal, it would be the most amazing thing ever, and even if no one else saw this, I’d know I did it for myself.

Grit is connected to a goal that when achieved, you could celebrate all by yourself.

It’s not for the external accolades and cheers of a crowd.

It’s connected to a deep part within you and is tethered to self-actualization.

It’s not for the applause of others.

Grit is a solitary act, an individual journey to self-mastery and achievement.

I say this with admiration because it takes guts. It requires courage to take on the hard stuff in life that come up against you all day long where there are no guarantees, so only you can distinguish between delusion and grit.

The people closest to you may not be the ones to ask when you are trying to sort out your emotions.

They (like I was) may be just trying to keep you safe. Safe from disappointment. Maybe even safe for them. They may even resent if you outshine them, ehem.

Grit as Tenacious Endurance – Are you gritty enough to stick with it?

What are examples of grit? There are many stories which embody grit. Here are just a few:

  • Rudy (movie/true story) – Rudy Ruettiger’s sheer determination got him on the Notre Dame football team. He had neither the academic abilities nor the athletic abilities to get accepted let at Notre Dame let alone a position on the team. It was his childhood dream that he refused to let go of.
  • Rocky (movie) – While not a true story in the motion picture, Sylvester Stallone had to sell his dog to survive and made it a requirement to play the role of Rocky to sell the rights to the screenplay he had written.
  • Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise would not exist today were it not for Sanders determination to sell his recipe. He was told “no” 1,009 times before getting to a “yes.”
  • David Goggins “Can’t Hurt Me” (Book) – The story of an overweight pest control guy who became a Navy Seal. He went through Buds “Hell Week” 3 times to become a Seal. He persevered through adversities which included: Broken bones, Pneumonia, and having to lose 100 pounds within just a few months to even be considered.
  • Elon Musk’s Tesla nearly went belly up before becoming the sensation it is today.
  • True Grit Movie: It’s a western story about a teenage daughter who is determined to track down her father’s murderer in native Indian country. It was the inspiration behind psychologist Angela Duckworth’s book. According to the author, the gritty part wasn’t John Wayne, rather, it was the determination of his teenage daughter.

What is an example of grit level perseverance?

Perseverance: the quality or state of continuing to do something in spite of difficulties that may occur.

A simple definition, but it encompasses a lot. It is someone who keeps going even when they don’t want to and then continues from there. They are able to

In one of Angela Duckworth’s TED talks, she brings up the 10-year rule that basically states that no one achieves a leadership position in their field until they have put 10 years into their craft.

Take Gary V. for example. He often says that he is an overnight success 15 years in the making, or Elon Musk who says at one point he was working 22 hours per day.

Even with that type of commitment, it was questionable whether Tesla would succeed.

The Grit Formula:

Courage + Consistency + Be Connected to Reality = Success

I am an entrepreneur, but for most of my journey, I have felt like I wasn’t a very good one.

Like many small business owners, I’m surprised I’ve been at this for nearly 10 years.

People often underestimate what is involved in running a business.

There have been a lot of skills to master. I’ve learned about the internet, coding, writing, running a business, doing work for people, freelancing, and a lot of other stuff that didn’t come that easily.

Being gritty has more to do with consistency and the avoidance of giving yourself a grade too early on in the process. Striving for perfection is a trap you can all fall into.

That’s not to say that I always followed my own advice, and there are many times where I would have given up had it not been for the support of friends or family members who were invested in my success or some other factor outside of myself pushing me forward.

Gritty just keep building towards the goal.

Consider this for a moment. You are right now on the road to a goal.

What is it? Do you even know?

You might be surprised at the goal you are ACTUALLY pursuing vs. what you think you are going after.

The Grit Formula that I live by is a collection of ways to help you develop and harness the power of grit.

  • Challenge yourself in new ways–learn how to do something that scares or intimidates you, take on an impossible task just for fun, try your hardest at everything even if it’s not your favorite activity. The clarity to know your end game. It’s worth spending time figuring out what you want to do.
  • Accepting and even seek out adversity— what do you do in the face of adversity? Find the problems that are easily solvable but not many conscientious people will bother solving, take on a difficult task or challenge yourself with something frustrating and rewarding (if it is in alignment with your goal.
  • Know Your Worth — Knowing your worth and understanding self-worth is easy to say, but bothering with taking the time to really develop this as a skill is worth its weight in gold. This is about believing in yourself no matter who disagrees, being kinder than necessary because once you understand that your mind has a unique way of growing and learning you will have the power to create a life that is worth living
  • Take risks–the path that you frequently travel leads only to where you are now, so take risks and try new things.
  • Love yourself enough to persevere in the face of setbacks. Choose to care enough about what you are doing not to give up when life gets difficult. Find the things that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get started. They may be different for everyone, but they are always there if you would only stop long enough to find them.
  • You can’t have grit without humility–you will fail sometimes, so what? Keep going until you succeed! Don’t let your ego keep you from pressing on.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

What is a growth mindset? The concept was developed at Stanford University by Carol Dweck. It is described as:

It is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed. It can change with effort.

It teaches kids about their brains and their ability to learn. Once kids believe that they can learn they don’t see failure as a stamp of either you can or can’t. They relate to learning as a process.

Source (tedtalks.com)

To summarize, I suggest being intentional about developing a grit mindset.

What is a grit mindset? As a general rule, it is the ability to not be easily dissuaded from your goals when faced with setbacks or adversity. It is a combination of believing something is possible, perseverance in light of obstacles, and the ability to generate motivation from within to press on with tenacious endurance.

Paul Clukey

Paul is an author, business owner, online blogger, kite surfer, fitness enthusiast father of three, who loves personal development and spends his free time learning and implementing new concepts to grow personally and help others achieve success.

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