Grit: The Eternal Learning Principle

Through learning, we progress. We fulfill the measure of our creation, have joy, and eventually return to our maker. So, how do we improve our capacity to learn? Learning seems to have two dimensions: the first is personal energy and passion, and the second is the ability to demonstrate a growth mindset. Psychologists have called this learning process “grit”. They have found that grit is a better predictor of long term personal, educational, and leadership success than intellect (IQ), emotion (EQ), or sociability (SQ).

So, with a predisposition to and experience with grit, here is a top 10 list of how to enhance grit. Some of these grit-enhancers come from research, some from personal experience, and some from observations.

10 Grit Enhancers:

  1. Set realistic expectations:
    Sometimes, we try to achieve that which is unachievable. I learned early in my life that while I really enjoyed playing basketball, I would never be able to make a living as a professional athlete. Grit needs to be directed with realistic expectations.
  2. Take risks and challenge yourself to do new things:
    Doing what we have always done will get us what we have always got. I like to try new things, experiment and be curious. Habits and routines are 70%-80% of our lives, but experimenting with new routines allows us to grow. While change is not always easy, it is helpful to embrace change and see it as an opportunity, not a threat.

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Written By

Dr. David (Dave) O. Ulrich, PhD, is Rensis Likert Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Director, Human Resource Executive Program, University of Michigan. He is also a Partner, the RBL Group.

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