Grit is boring
Grit is all the rage now
Everyone wants to expound on the benefits of grit:
…grit the key determinant of success.
…talent doesn’t really matter.
…the only thing that matters is your ability to continually overcome adversity.
And in the end, I do agree with a lot of the sentiment, but there is something that I feel gets lost in all of the buzz and hype about grit:
Grit is really boring.
Yes, that’s right. For all of the dramatization, about overcoming adversity, being tenacious and never giving up, grit actually looks really boring on a day-to-day basis.
In fact, I would argue that the single most important thing that people are trying to say with all of this talk about grit is :
If you can overcome the boredom that comes with practicing something over and over and over and over again for hours and days and months and possibly years on end, it is almost inevitable that you will get good at it.
What people get wrong about grit
In many of the articles I read about grit, the author really emphasizes the obstacles that someone needs to overcome in their life. They came from nothing, worked multiple jobs, experienced loss, etc.
But to me, this is focusing on the wrong part of the story.
Of course, the accomplishments of these people are impressive, but by focusing on the stories of great triumphs over adversity by exceptional people we are telling everyone else that grit is something exceptional. That it is something you are born with and some people just “have it”.
This is absolutely wrong.
What people should be focusing on instead, is what this grit looks like on a daily basis. It isn’t something dramatic or something that you could make a great movie montage of. You’re are training in the wilderness like Rocky to fight some juiced up Soviet boxer.
What you are really doing is carving out a little bit of time every day to work towards your goals.
If you don’t feel like doing it that day, you force yourself to do it anyway.
Then eventually over time, all of those little positive steps will add up to success.
Grit is boring
I cannot emphasize this enough.
…taking the time to study for an exam even when your friends may be doing something fun that you don’t want to miss.
…setting your alarm an hour early so you can work on a side project every day before work.
…watching lectures at night to work towards a degree or certification instead of Netflix.
…making sure you get up and out to class every morning and focusing enough to take good notes.
All of these things are boring. And yes there will absolutely be days that you don’t feel like doing these things.
But if you are able to overcome the desire to be distracted by something more fun, you will without a doubt have success in what you are trying to accomplish.