As an explanation for his success as a scientist, Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer."
Someone who has the ability to stick with something and persevere with determination, despite tremendous obstacles, is known as having “grit.” And the consensus today among educators is that having a lot of grit is an indication of a person’s ability to succeed in life.
“It’s very important that we know what we want and we continuously go after it with passion, with energy and with excitement,” says Cindra Kamphoff, director for the Center of Sport and Performance Psychology at Minnesota State University. She’s a performance coach who uses the concept of grit to train her athletes to achieve higher results.
A person’s grit absolutely affects the outcome of success, Kamphoff explains. “Many people expect success to be a straight line, where if you work hard, you’ll get where you need to go. But when you look at the journey of success, you’re going to experience setbacks. For an athlete that might be an injury, and for a business executive, it might be getting fired.” And whether you succeed is often due to your ability to bounce back with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment.
Do you have enough grit to succeed? Take our quiz to discover—when push comes to shove—just how gritty you really are:
M. You’ll give up on the project entirely, deciding that this accident was an act of fate. You weren’t meant to do this kind of work in the first place.
I. You’ll eventually return to the project, but when you do, you won’t regain the same enthusiasm.
C. Enthusiasm. You’ve spent long hours thinking about where you’re heading and where you’d like to be a few years from now.
M. Hesitation. You have some ambitions but aren’t so certain you will achieve them. How can you predict the future or claim to know where you’re headed?
I. Uh, you’re describing someone else. You don’t behave this way ever.
C. Exceptionally passionate about what you’re doing, giving your absolute best effort in order to learn more and get the most out of your time.
C. Take the feedback. You determine to work harder the next time and use the criticism to help you learn new ways to tackle the situation.
M. Let it affect you for a while. Although you’ll likely get over it, you may wind up avoiding this person in the future.
I. Send it back.
C. Set aside some time to figure it out. You’ll complete the project, no matter how long it takes.
M. It really depends. If no one comes forward, I might do it, but I’m not sure.
I. This is definitely not me. I’m not likely to get involved in a situation that is so stressful.
M. 50-60%: It depends. I’m not sure if I will start it again when I recover.
I. 5-15%: I have good intentions but often get sidetracked, especially when I hit a bump.