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By: Sam Instone

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August 14th, 2018

What is grit?

Investment | Financial Education

James Clear recently defined grit.

"It’s the perseverance and passion to achieve long–term goals".

As a graduate from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – this area fascinates me.

Mental toughness can be the difference between success and failure.

Financial, or otherwise.

Angela Duckworth, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that grit is a strong predictor of success and ability to reach one's goals.

She discusses the concept of grit and how it helps foster mental toughness in our everyday lives in her popular TED talk.

Her research has shown that…

  • West Point (the American version of RMA Sandhurst) cadets who scored highest on the Grit Test were 60% more likely to succeed than their peers.

  • When comparing two people who are the same age but have different levels of education, grit (and not intelligence) more accurately predicts which one will be better educated.

  • Competitors in the National Spelling Bee outperform their peers not because of IQ, but because of their grit and commitment to more consistent practice.

3 steps to becoming mentally strong

Step 1: Define what grit or mental toughness means for you

For me, this might be:

  • going one month without missing a workout

  • delivering my work ahead of schedule for two days in a row

  • calling one friend to catch up every Saturday this month

Whatever grit means to you, be clear about what you’re going after.

Define what grit or mental toughness means for you

Step 2: Build grit with small physical wins

So often we think that grit is about how we respond to extreme situations.

But what about everyday circumstances?

Mental toughness is like a muscle.

It needs to be worked to grow and develop.

Choose to do 100 sit ups when it would be easier to just 50.

Choose to ask the extra question when it would be easier to accept.

As James says,

“Prove to yourself — in a thousand tiny ways — that you have enough guts to get in the ring and do battle with life.”

Step 3: Build strong habits and stop depending on motivation

Grit isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage.

It isn’t about motion.

It’s about building daily habits.

Stick to a schedule.

Grit is about building daily habits ans sticking to a schedule.

Overcoming challenges and distractions over and over and over again.

Mentally tough people don’t have to be more courageous, more talented, or more intelligent — just more consistent.

The best investors consistently invest in passive funds.

They rebalance regularly.

They overcome the noise.

And don’t speculate.

Grit comes down to your habits.

It’s about doing the things you know you’re supposed to do on a more consistent basis.

It’s about your dedication to daily practice and your ability to stick to a schedule.

Thanks again to James Clear for his wisdom.

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About Sam Instone

Sam Instone, Director at AES International, is passionate about positive change and ensuring international investors get better results.

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