There are four assets for GRIT: Interest, practice, purpose, and hope.
INTERESTS are triggered by interactions with the outside world. Interests thrive when there is a crew of encouraging supporters; including teachers, coaches, and mentors. Positive feedback makes us feel happy, competent, and secure. One must goof around, triggering and retriggering interest. Even the most accomplished of experts start out as unserious beginners. The word interest comes from the Latin interesse, which means “to differ.” The desire to learn new things, to seek novelty is a basic drive for interest. That is for the beginner, for the expert novelty is nuance.
PRACTICE for some people get 20 years of experience (a middling level of competence), while others get one year of experience 20 times in a row (continuous improvement). Mega successful people demonstrate a striking desire to excel beyond their already remarkable level of expertise. Experts do thousands upon thousands of hours of deliberate practice. Rather than focus on what they do well, experts strive to improve specific weaknesses, until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence. This is done through constant practice with immediate feedback. Deliberate practice has no rival. It is more effortful and significantly less enjoyable, GRITTY people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow. Deliberate practice is for preparation, and flow is for performance. Flow is experienced through knowledge with no thought process (intuition). To get the most out of this practice: make it a habit.
PURPOSE is the intention to contribute to the well-being of others. Your efforts pay dividends to other people. It is in a spirit of service. We are all hardwired to pursue purpose. It comes from survival in the caveman days. Most GRITTY people see this as a source of motivation. Whether you are the janitor or the CEO, you ask how does it connect to other people.
HOPE is one with a growth mindset. You believe you can learn to do better. A fixed mindset is one who has no hope and believes that he cannot improve. GRIT and growth mindset go together. To avoid a fixed mindset give names to your inner negative mindset and say things like “Oops. I guess I brought Controlling Claire to the meeting today. Let me try that again.” People who cruise through life friction-free, before encountering their first failure have so little practice falling and getting up again. They are fixed mindsets that are called “fragile perfects.” Practice optimistic self-talk, that is resilience training.
To best bring forth interest, practice, purpose, and hope in the people you care for is through parenting. Parenting derives from the Latin and means “to bring forth.” The culture in which we live, and with which we identify, powerfully shapes just about every aspect of our being. If you are a leader, and you want the people in your organization to be GRITTIER, create a GRITTY culture. What do you look for in your leadership team? Capability, character, and how they treat their people. Demonstrate determination and resiliency. Use mistakes and problems as opportunities to get better. Build a culture of GRIT, then communicate the culture. Language is everything, have a collection of core values that everyone lives and speaks. Success is never final; failure is never fatal. What we accomplish in the marathon of life depends on our GRIT, our passion and perseverance for long-term goals. GRITTY people have a healthy emotional life. To be GRITTY is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to hold fast to a purposeful goal, to invest in deliberate practice, to fall down seven times and rise eight.
Ron Winnegrad has been a Perfumer and teacher for 46 years. As a perfumer, Ron has been able to express the world he sees through a rainbow of olfactive and emotive visions. As a teacher, Ron has helped others to see fragrance through his own multi sensorial lens.