What does it take to be number one? Ask this question, and you will undoubtedly be met with a variety of answers. Courage to press on, resolve when things mess up, and strength of character to persevere would all likely appear on the list. All of these abilities are exhibited by those who have grit, and gritty people possess the following super enviable qualities:
1. They confront problems head on.
Gritty people demonstrate tenacity. The weak-willed may sweep things under the rug, but those who have grit know the only way to achieve their goals is to solve what stands in their way. Those with grit work to find solutions to their problems instead of worrying about them and hoping that they disappear.
2. They go after what they want.
Rather than waiting for opportunities to fall out of the sky and into their lap, those with grit seek out chances to achieve their goals. They put in the work, even if it’s not always easy. If they want a promotion, they don’t sit around talking about how they deserve it; they take on additional responsibilities without being asked, devote extra time to assigned tasks, and go out of their way to make sure they have face time with their boss whenever possible. They chase their goals because they know their goals won’t chase them.
3. They take chances.
Those with grit don’t let fear of striking out keep them from playing the game, and they believe the risk is often worth the reward. They understand that their self-worth is not directly tied to their instant success, so if they try something and it doesn’t work out the first time, they see it as a learning opportunity to fail better until they get it right.
4. They know who they are.
While those without grit may let insecurities hold them back, people with grit believe in themselves, and that belief pushes them to persevere when others give up. Having a strong sense of self enables them to bounce back from mistakes. Thinking about how others see you is a waste of energy, and gritty people devote their energy to attaining their goals—not wondering how others perceive them.
5. They are detail-oriented.
Those with grit examine things from multiple angles, and rather than speeding through tasks, they take time to truly understand what is being asked of them. Because they value doing their best work, they consider each step they take carefully to make sure the direction they are heading in will truly produce the greatest results.
6. They focus on long-term goals.
Beginning a project is exciting, but as time goes on and roadblocks occur, throwing in the towel and taking it easy can start to look pretty appealing. Gritty people are able to see past one hard practice or sleepless night and visualize the light at the end of the tunnel. Though it isn’t always fun, they understand that the elation of a job well done is more satisfying than getting halfway to the top and stopping.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.