How to Persevere Without Destroying Yourself
I’ve been the victim of bad grit. You have too. We’ve put our heads down, closed our minds, and plowed forward. In the process we hurt ourselves and others.
Bad grit is one reason last year’s frustrations persist.
Extraordinary leaders possess good G.R.I.T.
Grit: Your capacity to dig deep, to do whatever it takes – especially struggle, sacrifice, even suffer – to achieve your most worthy goals. (Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D. in GRIT)
Good and bad:
Paul Stoltz says, “Good grit is the relentless pursuing of things that are ultimately beneficial to you and (ideally) others. Bad grit is the opposite.”
Four dimensions of GRIT*:
Your propensity to seek and consider new ideas, additional alternatives, different approaches, and fresh perspectives.
Your capacity to respond constructively and ideally make good use of all kinds of adversity.
Your gut-level capacity to pursue the right goals in the best and smartest ways.
The degree to which you persist, commit to, stick with, and relentlessly go after whatever you choose to achieve.
Good grit and growth:
Bad grit presses forward, grits its teeth, and closes down. Good grit presses forward, grits its teeth, and opens up.
Bad grit knows. Good grit learns.
Persistence destroys those who refuse to learn and adapt.
Finding good grit through growth:
Growth is what helps you get unstuck. Paul Stoltz, Ph.D.
- What prevents me from trying a new approach?
- Who can I learn from?
- What is adversity teaching me about myself?
- What am I doing about recurring frustration or disappointment?
- What awkward idea or strategy, that others have employed, might I adapt to my situation?
What is the difference between good grit and bad grit?
What does a leader with good grit look like?
*This post is based on the book, “GRIT: The new science of what it takes to persever, flourish, succeed,” by Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D. (Highly recommended)
Follow Paul on twitter: @DrGrit
Leaders with good grit look like they have the whole world in one hand. They can be radiant with knowledge yet simple to communicate with when needed, yet passionate about there journey, seem to have good direction and understand where they are going. Nothing seems to fluster them on the surface deep inside they already have a solution on its way, can truly are brilliant individuals.
Thanks Tim. The idea that good grit helps us deal with being flustered makes so much sense. Good grit has focus and focus helps answer distraction.
I believe good grit involves actively listening to others and being flexible and not so focused. To be able to process feedback and incorporate it into the plan. After all, two heads are better than one? Bad grit is where someone is so focused on their mission that they can’t even interact with others.Must get task done.
I think people need to be aware of whether they tend to be more of a single focus person or have a more dispersed outlook. Some people are really good with managing a large team while others are better at being the expert and really need someone who can keep pulling them out of their tunnel periodically to extend their vision.
Thanks Rowena. I’ve had the kind of bad grit you describe many times. I’ve resisted being pulled out of my tunnel many times. Thanks for the illustration.
A friend and I talked about this when Michael Jackson passed away. You can get in your tunnel surrounded by people who support your “vision” for whatever reason and without objectors you can easily become more and more idiocentric and end up being eccentric at the very least. We all need to work with or at least know that person who speak the truth (guaranteed we won’t like them) and we need to listen and respond.
I’ve always wanted to ask a group like this a question like this (related to #3, above, Instinct): What is it about a certain path or goal that triggers your gut to say, “this is it, go.” Can you define “that thing?”
Great question Katie. I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic. Paul addresses it in his book. I’m going to send him a note. Perhaps he’ll chime in.
Examples of each: Bad grit – keeping on only because you don’t want to be a quitter, even when persisting is destructive or has become pointless. Good grit – deciding to quit, because the original goal is no longer meaningful, freeing yourself up to change course.
Thanks Nancy. KaChing!
Dan this is a huge topic of discussion in education leadership. Thank you for making the distinction between good and bad grit. I would like to share with my readers! Thanks 😉
Thanks Walter. Best wishes. It’s a pleasure to serve.
As has been observed, a downfall to GRIT can be pressing through and not seeing an alternative better path to take, or not being willing to listen to the alternatives others are showing you.
Thanks David. Learning to listen is one of the most important things to learn. I’m still learning it. 🙂
Question: How can a “good grit” worker HELP “bad grit” managers to turn RIGHT, and take the “good grit” path?
Thanks Paining. Great question. One of the toughest lessons to learn is that we can’t control others. How would you influence a manager to get better at adapting? Run a test case or pilot program?
I think we periodically need to ask ourselves – am I part of the solution, or part of the problem – then seek to modify our behavior to improve if necessary. To just keep on keeping on without a periodic change of course is dangerous.
Thanks Bill. Exactly!! It is so easy to just put your head down and press forward.
Hi Dan. Just want to say thanks for your blog. It’s inspiring and is helping me immeasurably on my journey.
This is a very real concept, bad grit can and will hold you back because you close your mind to other alternatives because you develop the constant idea that powering through will make you succeed even if you are going about it in the wrong way. Tenacity can hinder as much as it helps.