Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability

Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability

Marielys Gómez

Marketing Lead
June 13, 2024
Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability

At AQai, we believe that adaptability is a cornerstone of success, period. One of the key dimensions of adaptability is Grit, a concept extensively studied by psychologists like Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman. But what exactly is Grit, and how does it differ from Resilience?

Grit vs. Resilience

Grit is our ability to "stay the course" and pursue long-term objectives with unwavering dedication. Unlike Resilience, which focuses on bouncing back/forward from setbacks, Grit is about maintaining consistent effort and interest over long periods, regardless of challenges or obstacles. It's the mental stamina to persist through difficulties to achieve our goals. Resilience is agnostic in application, as opposed to Grit, which is applied to a specific goal/vision.

The Science Behind Grit

Angela Duckworth's seminal work on Grit (and creator of the Grit Scale) describes it as a blend of passion and perseverance. It's not just about hard work; it's about maintaining interest in your goals over the long haul. Duckworth’s research highlights that Grit is a crucial predictor of success, particularly in high-challenge environments.

Historically, researchers like Galton and Cox have identified that top achievers possess not just ability, but also zeal and a capacity for hard labor. Their studies concluded that persistence, confidence, and strength of character are significant predictors of lifetime achievement, often surpassing intelligence.

Grit in Practice

Understanding Grit as a learnable skill rather than a fixed personality trait opens new avenues for personal and professional development. At AQai, our data from over 10,000 AQme assessments has revealed that Grit increases with age and can be cultivated over time through intentional practice and commitment.

Levels of Grit

  1. Low Grit:


→ Unable to stick to long-term goals

→ Have projects often left unfinished

→ Switch tasks often

→ Give up difficult tasks quickly

→ Be easily discouraged

→ Find it difficult to stay on course

  1. Medium Grit:


→ Be able to reach long-term goals

→ Look for multiple ways to achieve a task

→ Show commitment and ‘keep working at it’

→ Benefit from support to finish tasks

→ Put off or delay tasks

→ Can avoid tasks when lacking passion

  1. High Grit:


→ Confident in achieving long term goals

→ Described as ‘determined’ and ‘hard working’

→ Have a high capacity to persevere

→ Known to finish what you start

→ Often stick to a plan

→ Not easily be discouraged

Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
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Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
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Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
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Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
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The Dark Side of Grit

While Grit is an essential component of success, it's important to recognize its potential downsides. High levels of Grit, when combined with low resilience and minimal team support, can lead to burnout. Data from AQme assessments acts as a valuable upstream alarm system, identifying individuals who may be pushing themselves too hard without adequate support.

Balancing Grit with resilience and seeking team support is crucial. It ensures that the drive to achieve long-term goals does not come at the expense of one's mental and physical health.

The Role of Grit in Adaptability

The powerful combination of Grit and Resilience significantly impacts future performance and success. Both are vital components of our Adaptability Intelligence, AQ, enabling us to navigate and thrive in increasingly uncertain and complex work environments.

Grit isn't just about enduring for the sake of it, that’s foolish. In fact, misplaced Grit can inhibit adaptation. For example, being committed, passionate and persevering on the ‘way’ or the ‘how’ of achieving a goal. Having Grit for the ‘outcome’ or the result and ‘Mentally Flexibile’ about the how is a far better application of Grit. Remember Marshall Goldsmiths book - What Got You Here, won’t Get You There”! It's about enduring with purpose and passion. It's this steadfastness to achieve their most ambitious goals that empowers individuals and organizations.

Cultivating Grit

Recognizing that Grit is a skill we can develop, we encourage you to actively cultivate it in your personal and professional life. Embrace challenges, remain passionate about your goals, and persist through difficulties. By doing so, you'll enhance your adaptability and set the stage for long-term success.

Strategies for Balancing Grit and Resilience

1. Foster Team Support: Creating a supportive and psychologically safe team environment can buffer against the negative impacts of high Grit. Encourage open communication, provide regular feedback, and ensure team members have access to resources that support their well-being.

2. Monitor Workloads: Regularly assess and adjust workloads to prevent burnout. Use tools like AQme to track ‘Work Stress’ levels and adapt strategies accordingly.

3. Embrace Unlearning: Unlearning is crucial for maintaining adaptability. Encourage team members to let go of outdated methods and embrace new, more effective strategies. This ensures that high Grit does not lead to rigidity but rather to continuous improvement and innovation. As our good friend Barry O'Reilly says, unlearning is about letting go of past successes that limit future progress, a concept essential for those with high Grit who may be prone to sticking to old habits.

Enhancing Emotional Health to Complement Grit

Grit must be balanced with environments with high Emotional Health to ensure long-term success without burnout. Emotional Health is a significant buffer against work stress. Initiatives that support emotional well-being, such as breathwork, mindfulness training, counselling, and regular breaks, are essential. Diving into our AQai data, employees who report high levels of Emotional Health have significantly lower Work Stress scores, enhancing their capacity to persevere and achieve their goals.

At AQai, we're committed to helping you unlock your potential through the power of Grit and Adaptability Intelligence.

Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
Unlocking Success: The Power of Grit in Adaptability
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