Someone recently asked me : “How do I recover the grit and will to succeed in life I had a long time ago, but I lost over time?”
As someone who has had a +/- net worth swing of over $500M in the last 15 years, this question, unfortunately, I know something about. Rediscovery of yourself is also a happy side effect of taking the Red Pill.
Grit is the magic combination of perseverance and passion. Put that on top of above average intelligence, some money and your social network and BINGO : success in life. See where you are on the GRIT scale today by taking the assessment. Personally, Grit is not something I can keep applying over the long term (say 10 + years) without burn out. Grit takes ALOT of energy. It is easy to loose without quite a bit of resilience. The good news is most everyone has the CAPACITY for GRIT for certain things. If you feel you once “had grit” and have “lost grit”, I suggest you do the following:
1. Go back to the time you “had grit”. What were you doing? Why were you doing it? With whom? What about that time/activity gave you the extra passion to put in the extra effort? The purpose here is not to re-create the same conditions in the past, rather to become aware of what they were.
2. In remembering and reliving the time you “had grit”, write down as many specific feelings that come up about those times. I find it helpful to use a detailed feeling list like this one. (who knew there were more feelings than “happy” and “angry”?)
3. Now roll forward to today and take an assessment of how your current life is going by doing some self assessment tests like these. Pay most attention to the values exercises and strengths/weaknesses.
4. Next, create a list of all activities you are doing today within a week that take more than one hour of your time. Here is one I did way back in 2005 as an excel spreadsheet. My typical week Jan 2005. List work, family commitments, raising children, volunteering, sleep, workout, etc. Next to each activity, put the number of hours a week you do that activity. The total must be 168 hours. Add to this list three activities off your “if only i had the time” list. The things you believe you would love to do, or would be good at if you only had time to get around to them.
5. Take the top five positive feelings you felt way back when you had grit (from step 2) and write them down on the left side of a piece of paper. On the right side list all the activities from step 4, including the “if only” items, from the greatest time suck to the least. Now draw lines from each feeling word to each activity that also produces that feeling. Write the number of feeling connections made next to each activity. Here is one of mine from today:
6. What activities on the right are related to the most number of positive feelings from the previous “success state”? Those are the activities to peruse to regain a feeling of success. In my recent exercise, the top 5 positive “success” feelings were, flowing, appreciative, curious, helpful and balanced. The top three activities which created those feelings were “teaching my kids a life lesson, helping them”, “sharing my life lessons with friends/others”, and surf/harley/take a month off every six months.
It is important to remember that “success” and the “feeling of success” may be different things. What you are capable of generating grit for may not result in “success” as defined eternally. It is important to note that what feels like success may not pay the bills of life. If that is your situation, you need to then decide how much of the bills you are willing to give up in order to live more in line with your feelings of success. What you choose to apply grit to very definitely feeds your soul in a successful way. I define success today at 52 much differently than when I was 30. I am not trying to recreate the “success” of my 30s, rather define success into my 50s and beyond.