What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life


There are times in life when we feel discouraged or defeated, when life delivers blows that knock us to the ground. The feelings of hopelessness and despair may consume your life for many months as you wonder if you’ll ever get back to feeling happy and safe. This is when it’s important to learn how to persevere.

The good news is that, over time, life can get better, and you can get stronger when you persevere. You’ll likely look back at these “bad life events” and realize they were the catalysts for you to change your life.

The only way for us to live our lives to the fullest is to learn how to persevere and deal with the challenges that life throws at us. Surviving these curveballs and persevering through adversity, pain, and feelings of hopelessness and despair are part of the journey for us to learn about who we are. There is no other way to learn how to be resilient, courageous, hopeful, and optimistic about life and our future.

Everyone feels discouraged and defeated at some point on his or her life journey. Some of us find ourselves at this place of despair, and we do not know what to do, so we stop growing and thriving in life. We end up living our lives through regret, fear, pain, disillusionment, and sadness. This is not how we are meant to live our lives.

When you are feeling discouraged and life seems tough, don’t give up. Use these 7 strategies to help you grow your courage and how to persevere so that you can step up, face the curveballs, and embrace the joy of living a life you love.

1. Accept and Anticipate Change

In today’s world of constant change, it’s hard to manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. It’s even more difficult to find the motivation to persevere in the face of constant change. 

Instead of fighting the inevitability of change, learn how to accept it. Embrace change and know that by doing this, your life can only get better. Resisting change will fuel the negative energy that keeps you feeling discouraged about life.

Learn how to be agile in your thinking. Ask lots of questions and look for solutions. Don’t just focus on the problem that you are facing. It is a lot harder to solve a problem when you are immersed within the problem itself.

Become a solution seeker because, as the Dalai Lama said:

“If a problem can be solved, it will be. If it cannot be solved, there is no use worrying about it.”

2. Use Your Power of Choice to Liberate You

One of the few things you have total control over is your power of choice. No one else can take that away from you, so use it when you want to learn how to persevere.

When life gets tough, and you don’t know what to do next, you still have the power to choose. It is the choices that you make that determine how you react to the tough times you are facing. You can choose to do nothing, hide away, allow yourself to be distracted from the issue you need to face, or you can choose to take action and face your problem.

In my experience, the easiest option is to choose to do nothing, but it always comes back and bites you. In the words of psychologist Carl Jung, “What you resist will persist.” Choose to make choices that will enable you to move forward, not backwards or around in circles going nowhere.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. A person who chooses to be a solution seeker is a resilient person who is self-aware and will actively seek support, advice, and encouragement from others when times are tough.

Solution seekers value the input of others because they know others may have wisdom or positive energy to help them overcome adversity and keep moving forward in life.

Afraid to ask for help? You can learn how to begin with this article.

4. Be Positive and Laugh When You Can

For me, this is my secret weapon that helps me to keep going when I’m not sure how to persevere. Having a positive attitude enables us to use our power of choice wisely.

A positive attitude opens up your mind to explore possibilities, whereas a pessimistic attitude closes your mind down and encourages you to withdraw yourself from finding your way through the challenges you are facing. With a pessimistic attitude, there is no growth and no learning; there is stagnation in life.

If you have a hard time cultivating a positive attitude, consider trying mindfulness meditation. This can help you create space in your mind to root our negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Laughter is life’s best way to thrive in life. To get through the tough times in life, surround yourself with people who make you laugh and like laughing with you. Laughter is contagious, and you will soon find that when you are laughing lots, you are feeling more alive and hopeful about your future.

5. Embrace the Unpredictability of Life

Life is a strange and amazing journey, with many painful experiences and lots of beauty and joy. Running away from the challenges life presents to us is not the answer. When you run away, the only place you go is nowhere. The pain, discomfort, and challenges of life will follow you wherever you go.

It’s okay to fall apart, make mistakes, fail, and be disappointed, but you can only stay in this place for a short time. If you have a goal in mind, keep working to achieve your goal, despite the failures.

Resilient people expect to fail and be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome the adversity and challenges they face in life. Courageous people choose to “bounce forward” in life and to keep moving toward living a happy fulfilled life.

Commit to becoming that courageous, resilient person you were born to be.

6. Focus on Things That Bring You Joy

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” -Joseph Campbell

When you are feeling frustrated and hopeless, it’s easy to forget the good things in your life. If you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity, you will start to believe that there is nothing good in your life. Before you know it, that will become your reality.

If you really want to learn how to persevere, stop immediately and write a list of all the good things that you have experienced, and all the things that have brought you joy. The more you focus on the good in your life, the more hopeful you will become.

Showing appreciation to others and expressing gratitude are two actions that will bring joy back into your life.

One study found that gratitude was “demonstrated to be associated with increase in happiness, life satisfaction and social desirability”. These all contribute to more resilience.

A great way to practice gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal. You can begin by writing three things each day that you’re grateful for. You can learn other ways to practice gratitude with this article.

7. Don’t Let the Past Rule Your Present

Your past presents an opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with in your present life. However, if you don’t let go of your regrets in life and make peace with your past, it is very hard to move forward in your life.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery, and learn how to trust and believe in yourself. When you are facing tough times in your life, ask yourself this question:

“What is the one thing I can do right now to take me one step closer to moving forward?”

All you have to remember is to take one step forward and keep repeating that one step. You will soon discover that you are closer to finding a solution. Remember, you’ve done difficult things before and have come out on the other side.

Don’t let all your past mistakes and fears cloud your judgement and diminish your courage. You are not defined by what happened in your past. You are who you choose to be now and in the future. Become the courageous, empowered, resilient person you were born to be.

Final Thoughts

It is understandable that when you are facing tough times in life, you can become overwhelmed and lost. It is very hard to be hopeful and optimistic about your future when you are consumed by pain and frustration.

When you want to learn how to persevere and overcome the bad days, use the 7 strategies above to help you keep moving forward to get to your finish line.

More on How to Persevere

Featured photo credit: Guilherme Stecanella via unsplash.com



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