(#272) Grit: What Keeps You Moving Toward Your Goals?

“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then quit.
There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”
-W.C. Fields-

Resilience. Passion. Tenacity. Grit. Well-being. Balance. Mindset.

When these concepts are tossed around, they can apply to situations in which we examine our ability to either avoid or bounce back from adversity. They can indicate a persistence to reach a desired end as well.

In his book, GRIT, Paul G. Stoltz breaks GRIT into more than a defensive scheme.  He and his team see it as an offensive weapon we need to be intimately familiar with and aware of as we navigate our lives. And, we need to understand that not all grit is created equally.

GRIT = Growth. Resilience. Integrity. Tenacity.

Bad v. Good GRIT

When we use our “stick-to-it-iveness” to achieve a worthwhile and honorable goal (reach a healthy weight, earn a college degree, or work on a community initiative) that represents “good grit.” We achieve positive consequences for ourselves and/or others.  We act with inteGRITy.



“Bad grit,” according to Stoltz, comes into play when we tenaciously hold on to a thought, an action or a goal that creates negative consequences for us or others. Such as doggedly pursuing a mean-spirited course of action to belittle or demean someone with whom we may not agree.

Dumb v. Smart GRIT

For decades, I heard students say some variation of “I’ll study harder!”  Often they said that in response to a question like, “Terry, you have failed the first 3 math quizzes.  What do you think we need to do so you can pass your next quiz?” When Terry responded with “I’ll study harder” he generally meant he would use the same techniques that led to repeated failure—only this time he would use more of those failed strategies for longer periods of time.  I understood the thought—never the logic.  The persistence may be seen as “grit” or tenacity.  But in this scenario, Terry needs to understand when to give up on a failed strategy and follow a new course of action.

“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.”
-W.C. Fields-

Making wise adjustments to a goal or practice (and persisting) constitutes “smart GRIT” says Stoltz.

Weak v. Strong GRIT

I understand the importance and power of setting and visualizing our goals. And I have also come to the conclusion that, often, goal setting is way over-hyped.  Goal setting is the easy part. But if you set goals and then have difficulty staying focused on them and what you need to do to reach them (you quit, for instance, in the face of required consistent work) that is “weak GRIT.”

Goal achieving becomes the challenging part—and requires “strong GRIT.”

Video recommendation for the week:

In her TED talk, Angela Duckworth refers to grit as a characteristic needed for a goal-achieving marathon. It may take years to reach. Your goal requires stamina.

For the week ahead, examine one of your goals for good, smart, and strong grit. What adjustments do you need make? How do you plan on maintaining your stamina to persist?

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in Grit, Integrity, mindset, resilience, tenacity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to (#272) Grit: What Keeps You Moving Toward Your Goals?

  1. marianbeaman says:

    I can identify with Angela Lee Duckworth: True grit is required to achieve marathon goals. Drafting, editing, revising, and publishing my memoir is probably more than two years down the road, but I’ll get there, even when I factor in faint-hearted-ness, which I often experience.

    Encouraging words, these!


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