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Harnessing Grit

Harnessing Grit: A guide to success in life and work.

Within psychology, ‘Grit’ occupies an important position as a trait connected to productivity and personal fulfilment in daily life and work. Pioneered by psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit is a blend of passion and perseverance for long-term goals. The implications of this concept in personal development and professional achievement are important and can play a role in preventing burnout.

Grit, as characterized by Duckworth, speaks to a commitment to long-term goals and the resilience to pursue them, regardless of adversities and challenges. Duckworth’s research has suggested that grit may be a stronger predictor of success than for example IQ or socioeconomic status. It involves a pursuit of one’s future – not just for a day, week, or month, but for years.

Importantly, grit is not synonymous with mere hard work. Individuals possessing grit are not only determined but also have a clear direction in life. They remain passionately dedicated to an all-embracing objective that gives meaning and purpose to their existence.

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress and can be linked to work but can also occur in other life areas. By fostering grit, individuals can build resilience, improve their capacity to handle stress, maintain focus on goals, and adapt to changing circumstances, all of which are important in decreasing the risk of burnout. It iscrucial to remember that grit is not about pushing relentlessly without regard for wellbeing. Gritty individuals recognise the importance of self-care, rest, and recovery in achieving their long-term goals. They understand that maintaining balance and avoiding overwork is an essential part of the journey toward success.

Individuals with a high degree of grit tend to accomplish their goals, despite obstacles and setbacks. They exhibit resilience, bouncing back from failures, and are generally better equipped to deal with the stress and pressure of challenging situations. In the professional arena, employees with grit display perseverance handling difficult and long-term projects and are less likely to frequently switch jobs. For leaders, grit allows them to motivate their teams effectively, inspiring others with their passion and determination.

Want some strategies to nurture and leverage grit in your personal and professional life?

  • Cultivating grit begins with identifying what genuinely engages you, what are passionate about, and what you could commit to long-term.
  • Grit is about perseverance towards long-term objectives. Ensure your goals are challenging, yet achievable with effort and over time.
  • Cultivate a Growth Mindset: This concept, coined by Carol Dweck, indicates a belief that a person’s abilities can be developed throughout dedication and hard work. A growth mindset drives grit by promoting resilience and a love for learning. In contrast, a person with a more fixed mindset might believe that their intellectual abilities are simply fixed, and will often shy away from challenges.
  • Understand that failure is a part of the journey towards success. Instead of getting disheartened by setbacks, treat them as opportunities for growth and improvement.
  • Concentrate on areas that need improvement and actively seek feedback. It’s not just about logging hours, but ensuring those hours are spent constructively. Learn to love perseverance.
  • Connect your efforts to a larger purpose or mission; your “ikigai. ” When you believe your work makes a difference, you’re more likely to persist.
  • Foster self-care and balance. Ensure you incorporate rest, recovery, and self-care into your routine. This balance can help prevent overwork and burnout.
  • A supportive network can help you maintain motivation, provide perspective, and offer assistance in challenging times, supporting against burnout.

The concept of grit offers a valuable perspective for enhancing personal and professional success while also providing a preventive shield against burnout. By fostering grit, you can enhance your resilience, do what you are passionate about, and maintain a sustainable balance that favours long-term achievement and well-being. Ultimately, incorporating grit into your lives reminds you that the journey toward success is a marathon, not a sprint, requiring stamina, recovery, and a steadfast commitment to your goals. One perseveres despite the challenges.


By Ampara Bouwens

Ampara is an experienced Clinical Psychologist with over 19 years of experience, providing mental health services in private, governmental, and corporate sectors. She specialises in complex trauma, personality disorders, and other severe disorders, using a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to help clients regain control and autonomy over their lives. Since moving to New Zealand in 2016, Ampara has been running a successful private practice, offering personalised and effective treatment to individuals seeking to improve their mental health and well-being. Ampara is also the clinical lead and founder of MindGarage – a leading provider of psychological services, treatment, and assessment, with a team of skilled therapists who provide high-quality, personalised treatment via the same compassionate, non-judgmental approach. The MindGarage team takes a holistic approach to therapy, considering all aspects of a client’s life and offering tailor-made services to meet individual needs. MindGarage believes in empowering clients with the skills and knowledge needed to make positive changes in their lives, promoting long-term mental and emotional health.

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