You probably know by now that soft skills are crucial to gaining traction in your career. Traits like communication, honesty, and leadership will undoubtedly help boost your marketability and resume. However, there is one soft skill, in particular, that will get you ahead of your competition: GRIT.
Why Grit Is Important
Grit is so essential that psychologist Angela Duckworth has built a career on preaching it’s importance. Through her studies and experiences, she has found this soft skill to be a significant predictor for success. Angela shares in her TED Talk that, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
How To Put It To Use
Carol Dweck, a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, developed the idea of a “growth mindset,” which is believing that the ability to learn is not fixed, though can change with your effort. In other words, challenges should push you to grow and persevere, rather than slow you down and lead to failure. If you feel burdened by obstacles in your way, implement a little grit to grind through it and come out the other side a better professional.
For example, let’s say you’re interested in coding and know that it would help you earn a pay bump. However, it seems daunting to learn, and you don’t have the experience, so you’d be starting from scratch. Guess what? Your current talent and skills don’t matter. You have to start somewhere, and long-term effort and commitment will get you surprisingly far! So just start. Take an online course or enroll in your local community college.
One Important Caveat
Now, it must be noted that the soft skill of grit isn’t always the only answer. Yes, committing to a goal and putting in the consistent effort will get you far. Nevertheless, you must choose your goal wisely. As James Clear explains in his book Atomic Habits, “The secret to maximizing your odds of success is to choose the right field of competition.” He goes on to describe Michael Phelps and his incredible physical predisposition for swimming. Phelps demonstrates a fantastic example of grit and how it can be used to succeed; however, he is also genetically primed for that sport. He could put the same effort into becoming a distance runner, and because of his genetic makeup, he likely wouldn’t develop into an Olympic-worthy competitor.
In reference to your career, you are predisposed to excel in certain areas. Don’t choose a skill or career that you are not passionate about. If you do, the development process will be slow, arduous, and you likely won’t excel into a master no matter how much grit you deploy. “Habits are easier to do and more satisfying to stick with when they align with your natural inclinations and abilities,” notes Clear.
During uncertain economic times, career transitions, and personal development phases, grit is a soft skill that will continue to persevere. Wondering what other soft skills you should add to your arsenal? Read more about the most in-demand soft skills this year.