Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela

Dr. Angela Duckworth is well known for her research on grit. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest and effort towards long-term goals. She found that grit is a better measure of a person’s potential success than IQ or inherent talent. There are many naturally talented people who don’t end up reaching their full potential, while less-talented people accomplish remarkable things. Being persistent and intentional will yield results, but it takes courage and effort. 

Characteristics of grit include:

Courage and not being afraid of failure.

Resilience and adaptability; staying with a task and not giving up.

Striving for excellence, but not perfection.

Showing commitment, pride, and a positive attitude while completing tasks.  

Patience and the willingness to work hard towards long-term goals.

At the root of grit is perseverance. Perseverance is embedded in nature. It’s what helps all living things survive and thrive. Penguins endure -70 degree weather. They do this by huddling together and rotating members of the group into the middle to get warm, all the while warming their eggs beneath them. Trees shape themselves around objects that are in the way of their roots so they can continue to grow. Perseverance is all around us and also inherent within each one of us. Just as there are different forms of perseverance in nature, humans also take different approaches to overcoming obstacles. 

Increasing Perseverance

Embracing the struggle, learning from setbacks and moving forward (when moving forward is the healthy and most aligned choice) will build your resilience and boost your chances of success. Here are some tips on increasing your perseverance: 

Developing a fascination: Bringing wonder and curiosity into your work will allow you to be more engaged and less likely to give up.

Daily improvements: The secret of your success is in your daily routines. Take action every day to reach your highest potential. 

Bigger purpose: Connect to the purpose, or larger meaning, that your work has in the world or in your life.

Growth mindset: A belief that you have the capacity to develop skills, intellect and talent through practice and perseverance. 

This is an excerpt from Vekita Full Potential, a guidebook to help you get clear and advance in your career and life –