My interest in exploring resilience in people led me to discover Angela Duckworth’s presentation on grit and to some other authors who are thinking and contributing to these very important topics.

I am curious about the impact of juxtaposing the two concepts of resilience and grit. I believe there is a connection between the two. I see both as an attitude toward life and toward problem solving. Resilience is the ability to keep bouncing back during times of adversity while grit is the ability to see failure or a mistake as part of the journey.

What is Resilience?

Resilience is all the things that we do to keep us grounded and to keep us psychologically strong so that we can bounce back during times of change and hardship. Author Andrew Zolli defines resilience as being a dynamic combination of optimism, creativity and confidence. When these qualities are nurtured and developed, the likelihood of the individual demonstrating resilience is greater. One of the outcomes of his recent research project was to demonstrate the importance of resilience in people in order for them to maximize success and be able to pursue personal and professional goals.

Resilience is acquired through good self-care (nutrition, exercise, rest) managing one’s thoughts (mindfulness and optimism), focusing on what you can control and being creative to manage new or difficult situations, striving to have healthy relationships, maintaining healthy balance between work and engaging in pleasurable activities.

What is Grit?

Grit is a mindset that favors thinking big and setting goals that are based in possibilities. It allows people to dream big and stay focused when obstacles arise. The perseverance and determination of the individual with grit combined with their visionary approach to life will support them through arduous journeys.  For example, when a 15 year old says ‘one day I am going to be a doctor’, likely he or she sees their future self 20 years later having fulfilled their dream and working as a doctor. This ability to project one’s self into the future and to keep striving toward the goal combined with keeping one’s eye on the prize, dismissing failure, being able to forgo instant gratification, developing a mind map with multiple milestones to highlight progress, one’s natural ability and the acquired skills one accumulates through training and life experiences are crucial components of grit.

I often think of people playing a video game as a metaphor for grit. The goal is to beat the game. When you get killed or fail at a level you don’t quit playing the game. You may walk away frustrated, wait for a time then play the game again. After several attempts, mastery occurs and you beat it.  All along, your eyes are clearly on the prize – Winning.

Elevate Your Dream

For those who lack experience in setting a long term goal, we suggest you commit to elevate a wish or dream to a compelling pursuit. Once you have a pursuit, create a mind map of all the milestones that need to  be achieved, identify and strategize a plan to overcome obstacles (your limiting  beliefs or any setback), learn and master new skills as needed, and celebrate all small and big accomplishments. Make sure you have a support system/ cheering squad to motivate, encourage, and hold you accountable. They are crucial to make success more likely.

Whatever your personal or professional objectives might be, you will likely experience setbacks and challenges along the way. In order to keep the spirit of grit buoyant, FEED your resilience. The two are related and they are a winning combination.

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