Self Improvement Skills

Grit: A Simple Guide


'Nana korobi ya oki' (fall down seven times and get up eight.)

- Japanese proverb


1. Grit is the extraordinary levels of motivation we use/need to get through the particularly tough challenges/problems/goals in life. The school of life explains grit as 'the ability to demonstrate effort and passion over time' . Many now believe grit is more important (or as important) than talent in achieving success.


Terms related to grit are perseverance, resilience (see table of content), conscientiousness (being thorough, careful, or vigilant) , drive/determination (the urge to get things done) etc.


Everyone among us have different levels of grit, and we can work on building our grit, which we will need if we have to work through our challenges/goals in life.


2. Things that help improve our grit levels:


- Find a purpose in your life, and you shall have grit.


- See the problems/challenges and goals in life as a game you are playing, which will help you put a perspective on things, and not get too involved in the little details that you don't see the opening to the tunnel.


- Be realistically confident about your abilities (skills) and strengths to handle the challenge.


- Prepare before you start: Get the skills, resources, special knowledge, plan, plan B, etc. This way, you are reducing the uncertainty ahead. Uncertainty reduces fear.


- Have a growth mindset: Try to learn from your experiences/failures, and improve your skills all the time. Accept life as a long series of learning experiences (instead of winners and losers way of thinking), and you will keep being better at things.


- Have a support network: The best support networks are based on mutual help, and 'give and take' is the norm.


- Life is a war till end, enjoy the little wins along the way: Break big tasks into small one ones and celebrate the wins. This is a big motivator.


- Look for ways to laugh (and things to laugh at): Laugh at yourself, laugh at the ideas and the solutions, at the 'how ugly' or 'how beautiful' the problem is, and things like that. Experts also say, and we all know by now, that humor is our shield against stress and fear.


Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

- Calvin Coolidge


The Grit Questionnaire


1. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

2. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

3. My interests change from year to year.

4. Setbacks don’t discourage me.

5. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.

6. I am a hard worker.

7. I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.

8. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete.

9. I finish whatever I begin.

10. I have achieved a goal that took years of work.

11. I become interested in new pursuits every few months.

12. I am diligent.




1. For questions 1, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12 assign the following points:

5 = Very much like me 4 = Mostly like me 3 = Somewhat like me 2 = Not much like me 1 = Not like me at all


2. For questions 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 11 assign the following points:

1 = Very much like me 2 = Mostly like me 3 = Somewhat like me 4 = Not much like me 5 = Not like me at all


Add up all the points and divide by 12. The maximum score on this scale is 5 (extremely gritty), and the lowest scale on this scale is 1 (not at all gritty).


(Source: Angela Duckworth & team)


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