By now you might have heard of the term grit and the author Angela Lee Duckworth. In her book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” she explains how through her research on high achievers she discovered that more so than talent or IQ, the largest determining factor of success was if they had that right “combination of passion and perseverance…In a word, they had grit.” Grit… the ability to pursue something with consistency of interest and effort.
In order to achieve anything notable in life, you can assume it’s going to demand some grit. When it comes to finances, most significant financial goals unfold over a long period of time. Achieving these goals is not about your IQ level, it’s about how determined you are to reach them, stick with the plan, and how quickly you can get back on track when life hands you a boatload of lemons. Through a deep commitment to what you value most and holding true to a set of ideals you can be in it for the long haul.
The great news is grit is something you can create and continually improve. If one way doesn’t work, find another path. It’s just as the ancient proverb says, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” When it comes to your finances (or anything for that matter) it can help to start with smaller, attainable goals that will get you to that big vision of yours. For example:
- Create a budget (that actually works!).
- Pay down debt (by sacrificing discretionary spending).
- Put money into an emergency fund (and automate, automate, automate).
- Max your employer match on your 401k (don’t leave money on the table).
Achieving your long term financial goals will require many ordinary acts over many years. What might seem impossible now will become real the closer you get to achieving that big vision. Times are guaranteed to get tough but if you stay the course you will reach the finish line. It can also be extremely helpful to build the right support team. Know you tend to get off track? Find someone that you can check in with and rely on to hold you accountable to your goals. You can get there…just add grit.
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Want to see how you rate on the grit scale? Check out UPenn’s official Positive Psychology Center website https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/. Here you can not only take the Grit Survey but a plethora of other questionnaires and learn more about positive psychology.