GRITTYPE-770x370 Grit: “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” — Angela Duckworth (the godmother of grit) Before we discuss how to build grit in ourselves, in our teammates, and in our children, let’s continue to refine what grit, actually is (and isn’t).

  • Resilience (YES!)
  • Ambition (YES!)
  • Sticking to It (YES!)
  • Perseverance (YES!)
  • Commitment (YES!)
  • Continuing After Negativity… C.A.N. do (YES!)
  • Always succeeding (NOPE, gritty people fail more than most)
  • Being smarter (NOPE, gritty people don’t care about smarts, only about getting what they seek)
  • Being talented (NOPE, same thing.  Gritty people refine their skills by continually persevering)

In a variety of studies, grit has been shown to be predictive of success.  Whether it be athletes, West Point cadets, spelling bee champions or Ivy leaguers, grit is a learnable trait that enables improved long-term performance.

Creating Success



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Angela Duckworth, associate professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania conceptualized a formula for success as follows: Achievement = Talent  x  Effort To illustrate the point, let’s look at two individuals and determine who might be more be more successful.  For this example, we’ll use academics as an example (but this applies to all avenues of life including sports, languages, socializing, etc).

  1. JANE is a genius.  She scored 145 on an IQ test, placing her in the top 000.25% (i.e. if she was in a room with 400 people, she’d be smarter than all of the other 399!)
  2. JENN is ‘above average’ intelligence, having scored 120 IQ.

Who is going to be more successful?  Based only on IQ it’s a clear winner, but would these facts change your mind?

  1. JANE puts in 2 hours each week to study chemistry (assuming 20 hours available each week, that would be 10% of her time).
  2. JENN puts in 3 hours each week to study chemistry (with 20 hrs available, that would be 15% of her time).

Does that change your mind about who you’d pick to do better at chemistry?  Let’s pipe them both into the Achievement calculator and see: JANE Achievement = 145 * 10% = 14.5 score JENN Achievement = 120 * 15% = 18 score WINNER: JENN — She might not be as smart, but by that extra hustle, she’ll have a better chance at success.  Effort matters! Grit is consistent effort, it’s that ongoing commitment toward goals.    

Ways to Improve Grit


Read, in detail about grit:

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DO ACTIVITY ONE (5 minutes): Accept that *Everyone* Fails (and You Should Have Too!)

  • Write down a list of 3 failures or challenges you’ve had — the more the better!  Gritty individuals accept, embrace and then move past the failure (it’s just fuel to the motivational fire!)
  • Write down a list of 3 success you’ve had, small or big (e.g. convincing mom to have hot dogs for dinner!)

DO ACTIVITY TWO (12 minutes): Plan Ahead to Get Gritty

  • List two goals you have for yourself (e.g. play sports in college)
  • Now for each goal, list 3 ways you might fail along that path (e.g. not get emails back from Coach X, miss out on tournament Y, not get as much playing time as teammate Z…)
  • Lastly, put together a list of everything you can (and should) do to persevere and maintain your passion toward those goals… aka — how are you going to be gritty? (e.g. contact 3 additional coaches each month, watch one extra pro game on TV each week, find a camp that has 10+ colleges attending, etc).

DO ACTIVITY THREE (17 minutes): Build Your Pillars of Grit.  On a piece of paper, list each of the below 10 pillars and your response.

  1. Face Your Fear:  What are you really afraid of? If you miss your goal, what is the worst part of it? Now, assume that you did miss your goal.  Embrace it.  Accept that your worst fear is true.  …now get over it.  Your life will go on after missing a goal.  It always does.  {…but lucky for you
  2. Build a Moral Compass: What are your positive values? Family first? Being fair? Honesty? Giving and getting respect? Kindness to others? What?
  3. Having a Higher Purpose: What is your spiritual or religious connection to other people and the world or universe?
  4. Leveraging Social Support: Who can you rely on? What family members? Teachers? Friends?
  5. Role Models: Who do aspire to be like? Are there people you know that you can aspire to be like? That you’ve seen work hard (and succeed)?
  6. Be Fit: Healthy body = healthy mind. How do you stay fit?
  7. Grow Your Brain:  How do you challenge yourself? What are you doing to stretch your mind? Where are you learning new ideas? new skills?
  8. Mental Flexibility: Are you open to different feelings? Are you open different approaches to problems? Are you ok with change?
  9. Find Meaning in Life: Life is worth living!  What meaning does life have to you?  Is it about your family? friendship? happiness? embracing a higher being?  What is
  10. Be Optimistic, but ‘Really’: What good things could truly happen in your life?  Find a way to give yourself positive vibes about something realistic (e.g.  winning the state lottery — NO; winning at church bingo night — YES).


Build Grit on the Field

EXACT Sports is known internationally for assisting athletes to “Go Mental”– i.e. the mindset that allows an individual to trigger (switch on) success, whether it be on the field, at home or in the classroom!  To view information about our limited enrollment events, click the schedule below:                             If you’d like to receive future training guidance (for any sport) or early access & discounts to upcoming events, please subscribe to our mailing list: