Get some grit: 9 tips to become more resilient

As a pioneering psychologist, Angela Duckworth has spent her life finding out what personality traits make people truly successful in their fields. In her bestselling book Grit, she explains how to push past challenges and be more resilient. Here are nine tips to get some grit.


1. Play comes before work.

In order to have grit, you first need something to be gritty about. Take time to explore your potential passions before choosing to commit to a calling. Find what you love to do; passion is what makes grit and resilience possible.

2. Embrace your failures as exciting challenges 

When Angela was an undergraduate at Harvard, she decided to take a neurobiology course even though it was slightly too advanced for her. When she started doing badly in tests and assignments, her advisor suggested that she drop the course to maintain a good transcript. She nodded, walked out, and made neurobiology her major.

She embraced her area of weakness as an opportunity for growth, leading her to ace her final and diversify her talents. If dealt with in the right way, failure can pave the way to exciting success.

3. Focus on specifics

When trying to improve your skills in a certain area to overcome a challenge, be specific with your goals, honing in on the exact ‘make or break’ of the situation. A difficult time or problem can help you find your Achilles heel. Once you have identified your specific weakness, you can direct your energy in the right direction.

4. Engage in deliberate practice

If you are working towards a specific goal and want to remain gritty, engage deeply in your preparation or practice. It is okay to work hard, but it is important to work smart. Engage in your task in new and different ways each time, challenging yourself in your preparation. Take time to reflect on the efficiency of each method of engagement, and how it is contributing to your success.

5. See failure as temporary

Angela’s studies showed that those who succeeded saw failure as a temporary setback, rather than a permanent loss. If you envision your long-term goals as ultimate priorities that you cannot abandon, you will develop resilience to small roadblocks along the way. You should be on a marathon to your goal, not a sprint; if you trip, you can easily get back on your feet.

6. Set stretch goals

Aim just further than what you think you can reach. If you have big dreams to work towards which require you to push yourself, your grit and resilience will kick in. Remember to have a positive attitude towards pushing yourself. You can be satisfied and proud of where you are while striving to do more.

7. Resist arrested development

Kaizen is a Japanese word, which means ‘continuous improvement’. During any task or challenge, most people reach a plateau phase that they struggle to overcome. They feel as if they cannot go further, that they have reached the limit of their potential. Angela advises her reader to aspire beyond his or her current level, no matter what that may be. A ‘persistent desire to do more’ is the key to success.

8. Find your true purpose

If you set yourself a goal that you really want to achieve, you will find your grit and resilience will flourish, even in the face of difficulty. Find the real reason you want to achieve a goal, even past the short-term aim. Digging deep will unearth your real source of motivation, which will carry you through.

9. Self-confidence

In the end, it all comes down to believing in yourself. Armed with the fundamental belief that you can push through any challenge, task, or setback, you can find success in anything you do.

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