“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”
Naturally, clarity of your life’s ambition will help you get there. But lucidity of your vision will also foster creativity and cultivate resilience. For example, I want to help people (children and adults) feel empowered and be the best they can be through my writing and teaching. I applied for a job that would have helped me reach even more (students) than the 90 I help now. I received a letter of rejection and felt pretty awful. Until…
I realized there are many other ways to achieve my ultimate goal. I’m excited and energized all over again. “Failing” is just another way to readjust your road.
As Robert Frost infamously wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.*
*from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Less Traveled”
Grit – the persevering drive to achieve one’s goals – is identified as one of the most powerful factors for success, even more than talent.
A big part of my job is to preserve perseverance in my students. As a mother, modeling and maintaining grit is central to my parenting style. We can raise talented, very smart children, but without resilience, they won’t create and maintain satisfying, successful careers and lives.
Perhaps you’ve found your own passion and you can relate. “I love writing/painting/coding/etc. but I often fail to complete a project. How can I develop grit?”
Angela Duckworth, a noted psychologist, author and recipient of the MacArthur Genius award for her work on grit, identified 5 research-based ways to increase your grit level:*
- Pursue your interests – obviously, if you’re intrinsically driven to pursue something, you’ll be more apt to stick with it through thick and thin!
- Practice insanely – consistent, deliberate practice not only makes perfect, it also increases your perseverance.
- Find purpose – if your long-term objective is to help your community or others, you’re more likely to stick with the work than if your objective is to save up for that dream Ferrari.
- Be optimistic, have hope – truly believe and expect that tomorrow will be better than today. So if you’re still learning and making mistakes, know that you’re just going to get better and better.
- Join a Gritty Group – Have you heard the saying, “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with?” It’s true. Stick with diligent people and you’ll be persevering too.