What does Grit even Mean and do I have it?


Grit has become such a buzzword. We’ve all heard it, from mentions of people who have grit to headlines about how Gen Z doesn’t have it. But what does it really mean and how did a word that used to refer to sand become something we all want to have?

Merriam Webster describes it as “firmness of mind and spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.” More often, I think we’d use words like persistence or perseverance to say those same kinds of things. Sometimes, grit feels like that x factor that keeps us going through the challenges, but it might be helpful to dig a little further into the traits that help us lean towards grittiness.

"Connect with your Gen X boss who on average has 63% more grit than their Gen Z employees."

The 3 Traits that Create Grit


The combination of three traits really create grit: self-efficacy, self-discipline and vulnerability.

1. Self-efficacy refers to a person’s confidence in their own ability to accomplish something.
2. Self-discipline is about a person’s sense of commitment to completing a task (particularly one that they aren’t excited about).
3. Vulnerability in this case is less like the common definition of sharing yourself and more about how much stress affects a person.

Okay, so then, how does this combination work to increase a person’s level of grit? When someone has a higher level of confidence in themselves, combined with the discipline and persistence through challenging tasks, and a lower vulnerability to stress, their ability to proceed with more grit is natural. If time and intentionality goes into enhancing these three traits within yourself, this is sort of the secret sauce. Developing grit is important for all of us, even if it takes some more intentionality. This intentionality and focus can be a benefit in the workplace, a way to get recognized by co-workers and managers as a reliable employee, and helps to improve your overall capabilities.

Why Would You Want to Have More Grit?


Innate’s 2022 Grit Research Project of over 1 million people shows that Gen Z tends to have lower levels of grit, demonstrating resilience can help you to stand out. Or, it might help you to connect with your Gen X boss who on average has 63% more grit than their Gen Z employees. Better yet, it might help you accomplish your personal goals, whether you’re dreaming of starting your own business, finishing a degree, or having some financial breathing room.

For example, your adaptability might help you see ways to troubleshoot a problem on the way to reaching a goal. Or your diligence might help you to stay committed to a long term goal, despite running into obstacles along the way. No matter where you start, being able to face and overcome challenges is a skill worth developing.

So, are you innately wired to lean towards grittiness? Or do you want to consider how you can utilize your dominant traits to increase your resilience?

Take this assessment to check into your personal grit level and we’ll provide more guidance on other ways you can increase your grit.

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Research and Stats

Millennials have 33% more grit than Gen Z

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