As a child growing up in sports, I was raised in a competitive environment, which led me to enter hairdressing competitions while in beauty school and photo contests like NAHA as a salon professional. Looking back on it, I’m glad I did, as it taught me to compete with respect and to have some grit.
Grit is a willingness to commit to any goal and be persistent in achieving it no matter the difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetimes. Think about it, grit predicts which cadets stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts how far contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee go - the top kids all have some grit!
People who lack grit, more often than not, believe they just don’t have the abilities or opportunities that successful people have. If that describes your own thinking, well, there’s no way to put this nicely; you are wrong. Effort, planning, persistence and good practices are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.
Study after study of successful people, whether athletes, musicians, mathematicians, or inventors, shows that the key to success is deliberate practice - thousands and thousands of hours spent rehearsing the necessary skill and knowledge. That kind of practice does not happen without grit and the willingness to commit.
Grit is all about not giving up in the face of difficulty, even when you’re tired or discouraged or just plain bored. Remember my friends, there is danger in the comfort zone! Continue to discover and challenge yourself mentally and technically. Compete to learn!
If the little voice in your head is saying, “This is too hard for me, I must not be good at it,” you lack grit. And, as a result you will give up way too soon, reinforcing your mistaken belief that you can’t improve. People who rise to the top think differently than that, they have the willingness to commit, no matter what. That’s grit!
Sometimes the effort, using the wrong strategy and poor planning can get in the way. But, you need to remember that when faced with difficulty, you need to try harder and remember that improvement is always possible. Anything that is challenging has the potential for failure, but turning your performance into something inspiring and meaningful to you will help you garner the grit you need to succeed.
The bottom line is, no matter what kind of learning opportunities you’re exposed to, you’re probably not going to see lasting improvement if deep down you don’t believe improvement is actually possible. To be successful and truly make the most of your potential, it’s critical to examine your beliefs, and when necessary, challenge them. There is no skill that cannot be developed with practice and experience.
The art of competing is the art of forgetting - you must forget your limits, doubts, pain and your past to succeed. Look at change, fear and leaving your comfort zone as opportunities to overcome to become better.
It’s a good idea to establish a set of core principles that relate to your competing…core values with a core purpose. A guiding thought process that you stick to, no matter what. You can change your practices and methods, but let grit and passion drive you to stay true to the core purpose so you can commit to being the best in competitions. Compete to discover and learn and your work will SHINE!
Aspire for More!
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[Image courtesy of Sam Villa]