When I think about all the traits instilled in me by my parents, one stands out for me the most: grit.
For me, grit is the trait that enables you to push through things you don’t want to do.
Grit always pushes me forward. If I have an issue that I know will challenge me in the long term, I am willing to dedicate at least a couple of years to solve it. Keep on reading to see where my grit came from and how you can increase yours.
My grit was instilled in me in a few different ways.
First of all, the people I look up to the most, my mother and my father show a tremendous amount of it. They were refugees and the stories of what they went through to get to Canada are unbelievable.
My dad, for example, dodged gunshots, worked under different names, and ended up getting to Canada in the craziest way. He worked many jobs, sometimes three a day, including a taxi driver, construction worker, gas station attendant, and more. He worked these jobs while going to school and getting his accounting degree. He has now been running a successful small business for over 20 years. Watching your dad show that amount of grit, transfers to you as a child.
When I think of how he built grit in me, one thought comes front and center. From kindergarten to grade seven, I would do all my school homework plus about 6 books he would buy for me, which included phonics, math, language arts, and others. On top of that, he told me to write out a page from the dictionary every week.
Every Sunday, he would check that my work was done. Otherwise, I’d get in trouble. I still remember sitting at the dining room table, hating these exercises, and becoming insanely fast at writing and doing problems so that I could go outside and play.
Being forced to do what you don’t like.
This tendency of being forced to do something I didn’t like but knowing I had to do it continued with me into the rest of my life.
This pure grit was the reason I got through engineering school. I was ready to do the work no matter how long it would take because I knew that I would ultimately benefit from it and enjoy my career. I mean… that plus the fact that I had really smart friends to help me when I needed it. It was this same grit that helped me deal with my Crohn’s disease because I refused to quit until I was healthy. It took me four years to go into remission and I continue those healthy habits today.
To this day, I use grit when I’m working full time, running my side hustle marketing business (CJam Marketing), and building up this blog. Though I ultimately enjoy all these activities, there are tasks within each that I don’t necessarily like to do, such as monthly accounting, having difficult conversations with clients, and video editing.
You need to do things that you don’t want to do, to get the things you want. It is as simple as that.
How to build your own grit.
To build grit, start small. As we get older, we develop a comfort zone. Try to push yourself out of that comfort for growth. If your brain is telling you “no” without a good reason, try to understand why you’re having that thought rather than just accepting it as a limitation.
Here are some tips for developing grit over time. Remember that it is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it gets.
Find something out of your comfort zone
Even something small) and dedicate a bit of time to it each week. Remember not to overwhelm yourself all at once! Some examples are:
- Writing in a journal once a week for 15 minutes,
- Meditating for five minutes every Monday
- Going to the gym once a week for a month
- Writing one sentence of your book every day
Anything is better than nothing. And if the goal initially seems too big, dial it back until it’s manageable or until you actually start enjoying it!
Use other people as your support system
Tell a friend or family member you are going to do something specific that you typically quit on. Then have them follow up with you. Knowing people are watching you helps push you in a different way.
Reward yourself when you step out of your comfort zone
Building grit is not easy. So when you achieve a certain goal, reward yourself. Rewards can include
- Booking yourself a massage
- Getting your favorite dessert
- Taking some time off
What happens when you’ve established enough grit
You create the pattern and habit in the brain that says “I can do what I set my mind to”. The reward ends up being the fact that you have something to show for your efforts. It drives you to grow more and you begin enjoying the process.
I would love to know what your most prized trait is and if you have your own thoughts on grit.
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