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A teacher training for a marathon
Rejuvenation Challenge

Teachers: Up Your Grit Factor First

By The Room 241 Team June 24, 2019

Let’s have a chat about grit. Grit is the combination of passion and perseverance. It’s the stamina to stick with your goals for the long haul — living life like a marathon, not a sprint. And, as it turns out, this characteristic is quite the predictor of future success. But can it be learned? Can you actually become grittier?

Heck yes, you can. It is possible to hone the grit needed and ultimately set yourself up for fulfillment and the achievement of your goals. That’s why it has become such a hot topic in education. Grittier students are more successful students. And it is possible to foster grit in your classroom. But the truth is, unless you up your own grit factor, it’s going to be hard to teach your students to do it.

So for your own life success, and for the sake of your students, here are three simple things you can do this summer to get grittier.

1. Find out just how gritty you are. When working toward something, it’s crucial to know where you’re starting from. You need a baseline. Take this quick grit test from the master of Grit, MacArthur “genius” grant winner, researcher, and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, to see exactly what you’re working with. Even if you’re a grit guru though, these exercises are worthwhile.

2. Chop your goals into bite-sized micro goals. Why? So you will accomplish them. How many times have you set an epic goal for yourself only to veer off the path and leave said goal in the dust? If you’re not the grittiest person on earth, probably too many to count. When learning how to pump up your perseverance and your passion, accomplishments are vital. Small wins add up. They build confidence. They increase motivation. And they feel really freaking good, which gives you something tangible to work toward.

Use micro goals to make your life a little bit easier each day this summer. Or use them to remove distractions and barriers that are standing in the way of your goals. If you want to be a better friend, for example, a micro goal could be sending at least one thoughtful text a day to a friend or coworker. Winning little goals like this go a long way in achieving your ultimate goal. 

3. Adopt a growth mindset. What exactly does this mean? EVERYTHING in grit training. Most people believe they just are who they are — that their talents, IQ, predispositions, and abilities are fixed, set in stone. People with grit, on the flip side of the coin, believe they can accomplish anything through practice, focus, and dedication.  Have you ever heard of Muggsy Bogues? At 5 foot 3, he is the shortest-ever NBA player in history — and a stellar example of a growth mindset. How can you tell? Simple. If his mindset had been fixed, he would never have played basketball in the first place.

Three simple things. That’s it — and that’s intentional. Sure, there are more things you can work on, more ways to get grittier but, as you know from numero dos, breaking your goals into miniature goals is the way to go. So, if increasing your grit is your main objective — and it should be — think of these three items as your micro goals. As you check each one off the list, you’ll be that much closer to ultimate success!

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