Connect with us

Life

4 Gritty Traits that Pave the Road to Happiness

Published

on

4 Gritty Traits that Pave the Road to Happiness

We must encounter frustration and failure to enjoy success. Wait… what? It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? In today’s business world, mistakes can be costly—both to the organization and to the individual.

There is enormous pressure to deliver the best products, strategies, and solutions. No one wants to be credited with “the idea that tanked.” We earn respect through our victories, not our failures. What is the old saying? “Carve your successes in stone and write your failures in the sand.” 

Our attitude toward failure is essential to success in the real world. Those who can’t effectively embrace and respond to failure are more likely to stay in the safety zone where mediocrity abounds. Angela Duckworth introduced the concept of grit in her 2013 TED talk as the “key to success.” Her first book, Grit, examines the scientific concept that success hinges on the level of a person’s grittiness.

However, beyond success, our level of grittiness also has a direct correlation to our level of happiness and personal satisfaction.

Consider these four gritty traits that have a direct impact on both success and happiness:

 

1. Resilience

Resilience, nurtured through a combination of optimism, creativity, and confidence, is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty. Life is often messy and complex, and there is no single solution that applies across the board. This means you must plan, prepare, and work toward your vision, but also continually embrace failure and experimentation when the inevitable orange cones of life present an unplanned detour.  When we view these obstacles as opportunities to learn, we can bounce back smarter and stronger,

As Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy point out in their book, Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, “There are no finish lines and no silver bullets.”  Resilience must be continually refreshed.” Resilience is the difference between those who thrive and those who fall apart in difficult or changing times.

 

2. Courage

A Google search for “fear of failure” will produce over 150 million hits. It’s number 15 on the top 100 phobias list—atychiphobia.  It’s also one of the greatest barriers to success.

Even though we all know we can learn from our mistakes, no one wants to fail. Failure and disappointment come as a package deal, and disappointment doesn’t feel good.  Courage and grit are a package deal, too. It takes courage to overcome the fear of failure. Sometimes the greatest enlightenment comes from defeat. Gritty people aren’t afraid to fail. Rather, they embrace mistakes and recognize that it often takes mistakes to make progress.

“Grit is having the courage to push through, no matter what the obstacles are, because it’s worth it”. – Chris Morris

3. Excellence

People often use the words excellent and perfect synonymously. As it turns out, there is a huge difference. Perfection focuses on destination rather than the journey. Perfectionists view any outcome less than perfect as failure. Many times that perfection is simply their perception of the ideal. They strive for impossible goals and often suffer from chronic unhappiness, clinical depression, and low self-esteem as they constantly chase that illusory prize. Moreover, perfectionists are often described as obsessive, anxious, rigid, and unyielding.

The quest for excellence is motivating and far more forgiving than perfection. Excellence is an attitude that emphasizes progress. Progress implies the process of continual improvement. Tony Schwartz, well-known author and founder of The Energy Project, refers to this as the “growth conflict.”  He says we strive for excellence as we continue to learn, grow, and change while also learning how to accept our own limitations and imperfections.

 

4. Passion

Perhaps the most essential attribute of gritty people is passion. Passion enables us to develop stamina and tenacity toward a greater purpose. It’s this symbiosis that creates meaning from chaos, finds value in effort, and cultivates happiness, personal satisfaction, and the sense that what we do really matters. People who genuinely love their work are motivated by their passion and a greater purpose. They tend to be more satisfied and healthier both psychologically and emotionally. Conversely, people who are unsatisfied with their work are more likely to be dissatisfied with their personal relationships and experience distress in other areas of their lives.

Consider some of the people who epitomize success. Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Oprah, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Simon Sinek, to name a few, all have demonstrated an unrelenting passion for a greater purpose. Malcolm Gladwell identifies passion as the most important factor for success. He says, “Nothing happens without desire and passion. Without it, nothing else falls in place. It’s very hard to find someone who’s successful and dislikes what they do.”

Marcus Aurelius Happiness

Grit may be the deciding factor between those who just show up and those who get the gold. Beyond that, grit determines how happy they are along the way. Success is not just measured by income, bonuses or the title on a business card.

Those who enjoy a rich, rewarding life understand that the road to happiness is paved with grit. If you want to be successful and happy, you’ll have to get a little gritty.

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Dr. Melissa Hughes is the founder and principal of The Andrick Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and master’s degrees in Instructional Technology and Educational Administration.  Throughout her career, Melissa has taught students from kindergarten through college, authored more than a dozen books, and developed countless instructional materials to improve teaching and learning.  Currently, Dr. Hughes develops and delivers professional development workshops across the country to increase our capacity to learn, unlearn, and relearn for greater professional success and personal satisfaction.

Advertisement
10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Thomas Stassi

    Jul 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Melissa,
    Great article. I am forwarding this to our children as I think this is great food for thought. Although now retired I can use this as motivation in my new volunteer endeavor.
    Tom and Deb

    • Melissa Hughes

      Jul 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      So glad you found value in the article, Tom! We all need a bit of inspiration and motivation now and again regardless of our position in life. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Debbie Romanoski

    Jul 15, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    What an inspirational article!!! I’ve printed it off and placed it front and center in my office to be read daily!

    • Melissa Hughes

      Jul 16, 2015 at 1:44 am

      So glad you found it valuable and inspirational, Debbie! Thanks for the comments!

  3. Lauren LeFranc

    Jul 15, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Wonderful article! Thank you for my morning cup of mental caffeine. This article also reminded me of a great saying that says….Experience is what you get when you get what you don’t want.

    • Melissa Hughes

      Jul 16, 2015 at 1:46 am

      “Experience is what you get when you get what you don’t want.” Wow… yes!! So true! Grit enables us to transform those events into learning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lauren!

  4. Omer Nissani

    Jul 15, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Wow! Just wow! Thanks so much for a great article. Although nothing is new to me you inspired me so much! Thanks a lot Melissa right in spot (-:

  5. Bobbijo Werren

    Jul 15, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I love the concept of using grit to find happiness! Great article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

Published

on

www.kellycatalfamo.com

Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

Continue Reading

Trending