How to install the Mindset of Grit and Determination In Yourself and Others
This week world record breaking adventurer, businessman, keynote speaker and leadership consultant, James Castrission, continues his series on resilience with a deep dive into how we can build more resilience in ourselves, as well as help those around us.
Anyone who does any serious research into the topic of resilience will encounter the outstanding work of pioneering psychologist, Angela Lee Duckworth.
Her groundbreaking book on the subject is entitled, Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and is a first hand account of her research with U.S educators working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also draws profound insights from history and shows what can be learned from modern experiments in peak performance. In summarising her findings, she shares what she’s discovered from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
What Angela Duckworth found might, at the same time, both surprise and amaze you as it did me. It might surprise you because all of your life you have been taught that it’s basically talent that separates the high achievers from the low achievers. All you have to do is find your talent and, with a bit of development, it will take you to success. But Duckworth found this was just not the case. She discovered that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she named “grit.
…being focused on the development of skills and learning and growing along the way.
Now this might amaze you for the very reasons I described in my previous posts. You might just be thinking, ‘I’ve been in business now for several years. Yes, there’s been ups and downs, but I’m still going, I’m still learning and I’m still growing, and so is my business. And I’d say, ‘Yes, that’s the way I feel too!’
It turns out that Duckworth’s findings are an amazing recognition that we already possess some of the key ingredients to success in business and life.
It’s time to get serious
While it’s an encouraging discovery to find that you already have some of what it takes to be successful, an important question still remains unanswered – “Do you have enough grit to actually reach your long term goals and succeed in life the way you really want to. We may all want to shout back, “Yes!, sure I do!”, but as we saw last week, bravado is not resilience.
Since we now know that “grit” is a learned behaviour and not just something you were born with, it’s time to get intentional about identifying our weaknesses and turning them into strengths.
To help you do that, let me share what I’ve gleaned from Angela Duckworth’s research.
The 4 key drivers of grit or resilience:
1. Interest. Actually being interested in what you are doing. Simple? Gallup researchers spent decades in over 150 countries, trying to identify employee engagement. They found that in Western countries, at least 50% of the active workforce are disengaged in what they are doing and at least 15% are actively disengaged, i.e. they hate their jobs. So two thirds of workers in Western culture are disengaged with their jobs. Consider how this might affect your business and how you can keep the vision fresh for you and your staff.
2. The philosophy around practicing. That is, not being absolutely focused on the endgame, the objective, but being focused on the development of skills and learning and growing along the way. In this way, you are ‘kicking goals’ all along the way, not just when you have ultimate successes. Or, in other words, Improving by 1% everyday!
3. Purpose: being connected to something bigger. When you are connected to others with the same purpose, it’s an extension of your soul, of who you are. Don’t forget that you need to connect yourself and your employees to the bigger purpose of why your business exists – serving your community.
4. Hope. Here we are talking about an optimistic outlook to life as opposed to pessimism. When you are presented with a challenge or obstacle, an optimist sees it as very specific and contained. They deal with it and they move on. A pessimist sees that obstacle as permanent and totally pervasive. Research shows that optimists stay in their jobs longer, and live longer, and optimistic insurance salespeople sell 26% more than those who are pessimistic.
Now that you have considered these drivers of resilience, identify which are your strengths and weaknesses and how you will turn shortfalls into sources of power. You might consider doing some training in areas related to these drivers. I hope this series on resilience has been helpful.
If you would like assistance in identifying and building resilience for yourself and / or your work team, please contact me at My Adventure Group.