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“Grit is the single biggest factor and predictor of success” – Jon Gordon
You know what I find interesting? With all the motivation and productivity theories out there, there is one hard truth that is hard to avoid and I think Jon Gordon captures it exactly. Without grit, getting down to work and really being as disciplined as you can, it’s hard to be successful.
3 Ways To Get Some “Grit”
Of course, some people like to wait for inspiration, but I really love Stephen Hawking’s idea that the best way is to simply get to work.
Here are a few of the ways I like to “find the grit” to keep going on a difficult task.
1. Remember Your “Why”
I try to find the positive “why” in every difficult task. Even though it may be a task I no longer want to complete, I remember why I started it. Are there still potential benefits from the outcome? Make a list of what they are, even if they have changed.
For example, I can see my PhD (which I plan to finish within 1 year) having a lot of different benefits to me now than I was originally expecting. Focus on the benefits and reasons why.
2. Visualize the Future
I understand that visualizing the future is not for everyone. Some of us like to live in the present moment and struggle to imagine future success. For me, this works wonders. First, I literally close my eyes and imagine the feeling of completing a project. Then, I try to carry that feeling over to the in-progress work I do on it.
Listing out the feelings you think you’ll have when you complete a project – euphoria, freedom, happiness, accomplishment – can also work. Of course, combining this list with your “Reasons Why” list can help.
3. Make A Plan
Again, this is going to work best if you like planning. Even if you don’t, though – it doesn’t have to be complicated. While I enjoy filling my Google Calendar with colour-coded step-by-step events and tasks, a plan can be as simple as a list. (There’s more on my Google Calendar obsession if you’d like to read it).
I think the important part is to go ahead and make the plan. Right now. Take a pen and piece of paper, your phone, Evernote, or whatever else you like to write with, and start with Step 1.
How To Find Your Personal Focus Style
Above, I explained how I stay focused on my toughest jobs, but this could be different for different people. A good friend once pointed out that I may be making the mistake of assuming that all my blog readers think like I do, when in fact, some may have wildly different tendencies.
For example, some people are able to use the famous Pomodoro Method. That’s the one where you set one of those egg timers to 45 minutes and don’t allow yourself to move or work on anything else until the timer goes off, giving you a 15-minute break. Some work well with study buddies (accountability buddies) to keep them on track, while others get down to work only when they are truly convinced it’s necessary.
Actually, I think Gretchen Rubin’s personality framework can help you discover your personal “grit” style. If you missed my post on that, the personality framework basically centres on four personality types that affect how we make decisions.
Four Tendencies Personality Framework & Potential Grit Style
To understand this section, I suggest you head over to Gretchen Rubin’s site and take her personality quiz. It’ll help you understand which personality type you lean towards most.
Now, this is the easiest one for me, since this is definitely who I am.
Main Tendency: Meets internal and external expectations
Potential Grit Style: For this one – follow the three steps I mentioned above! List out your reasons why (external and internal obligations), visualize the future, make a plan, and go for it!
Main Tendency: Prioritizes meeting external obligations over own internal expectations
Potential Grit Style: Of course, I’m hypothesizing here, as this is not my own personality style. If you tend to want to please others, I think accountability buddies would work wonders for you. Have one of your friends or colleagues set a deadline for you and have them check up on it. That way, they’ll be expecting you to have done the work, so you’re more likely to do it.
Main Tendency: Prioritizes internal expectations over external obligations/expectations
Potential Grit Style: People with this personality type question everything and want to be convinced that something is true before they take any action. Rather than relying on accountability buddies, calendars, or arbitrary deadlines, make a list of reasons why you should take each action.
Why should you get down to work, and get that grit? What are you getting out of it? Make sure you know! I’m guessing this list might make actually doing the work easier.
Main Tendency: Neither meets internal or external expectations
Potential Grit Style: Okay, I’m stuck on this one. If you’re a “rebel” personality style, you may not even follow your own internal expectations, but act in the moment. There are great qualities associated with this, but I suspect that getting the “grit” will be challenging. My only suggestion would be to find work that makes you happy in the moment. That way, it’ll get done for sure!
What are you tricks for “finding grit”? How do you focus best? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂 Oh, and if you have any ideas on finding grit for different personality types, I’d love to hear that, too.
Have a lovely and productive week!
P.S. Photo fans, the main image from this week’s post (and poster!) is one I took Drumheller, Alberta in June this year.
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