I’ve seen too many people give up too soon. They have a great idea, start it, and in some cases have moderate success. But then it flatlines. They fail to keep applying the pressure and ultimately quit.
They lack grit.
Grit is the trait popularised by Angela Duckworth in the book Grit. It’s the trait that she attributed to those who weren’t naturally talented, but stuck the course and ultimately achieved success.
But what makes you gritty?
It comes down to two main things. Having a combination of perseverance and passion.
Perseverance—persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Passion—strong and barely controllable emotion.
Are you prepared to go the long term?
Ask yourself. Are you prepared to wait a long time before you are successful? Are you prepared to keep doing it, even if it feels like failing over and over?
If the answer is no, then this is a strong sign that you might not have the grit to stick through it. As Seth Godin calls it The Dip, where there is a moment where most people are likely to quit. It’s the moment where you realise the time it takes to achieve what you want is going to take longer, is less glamorous and requires hard work. Those with grit get through the dip.
Reasons for why you may quit could be many. Shiny Object Syndrome (where you find something more interesting to start) and Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)—so you start something new.
Or maybe imposter syndrome—where you find that the challenge sets off that feeling of being a failure and not capable.
Or maybe it’s simply priorities. Paid client work is more valuable in the short term than going all in on your big idea that takes years to see any rewards.
There will be many other reasons why you might quit. The question is, can you develop a growth mindset and resilience to overcome these reasons when they rear their head in the dip?
Do you need passion?
We often think that we need to love what we’re working towards to achieve it. In reality this isn’t always the case. Sometimes we gain passion as we start to master the skills in a certain field.
Passion should not be confused with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm comes and goes, but passion is about endurance over the long term. So be careful when you get all energetic with an idea. Unless you can sustain a consistent level of emotion month-in and month-out, you run a high risk of quitting when you hit the dip.
The question is. What can we do to avoid quitting when it gets hard? Let’s cover that in the episodes to come.