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You Gotta Have Grit

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The research on success continues to spotlight an unexpected quality: Grit.

It's a peculiar word, going back to Olde English, having to do with gravel and pebbles and dirt. But it has a metaphoric sense meaning indomitable courage, toughness, or resolution, pluck and spirit.

In early 2011, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson published some of her research on the characteristics of successful people. With the immediate acclaim that her article generated, Dr. Halvorson went on to establish a "science of success" by studying what successful people actually do.

She says that "successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do." Which includes such practices as getting specific about your goals and "knowing exactly what you want to achieve." This, Halvorson says, "keeps you motivated until you get there."

Looking further into Halvorson's fascinating research findings, a few other nuggets gleam, including:

Successful people focus on getting better - Successful people never rest on their laurels. Rather they are constantly pushing themselves to find ways to improve their game.

Successful people are great finishers - And they stay with it to the end.

Successful people have grit - Successful people are committed to their goals and do not quit. Instead, they persevere, no matter what the challenge or the obstacle they face.

People with grit, like the young heroine of the novel True Grit, do not easily give up. Like a dog with a bone, they will stubbornly refuse to yield.

Lawyer and teacher Angela Duckworth has also studied success and agrees that it comes down to grit. She defines it as passion + determination for the long haul. Unshakeable belief in oneself. Perseverance in the face of setbacks, disappointments, and failure.

So who needs grit? If you are out of work, you definitely do. And if you are one of the long-term unemployed, getting rejection after rejection, the only way to keep going is to have grit.

Success comes down to Grit.

Note: Watch Angela Duckworth's TED Talk video here:

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Sunday December 8, 2013

Terrence H. Seamon is an organization development consultant who provides leadership and team development services to employers in New Jersey. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. His third book, Change for the Better, provides leaders with a guide to initiating, and navigating through, organizational change. An alumnus of PSG, Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. He can be reached at and via his website:



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