Six Examples of How to Live with Grit So You Can Live Your Dreams


“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ― Nelson Mandela

I think one of the most important aspects of living a full and meaningful life is our willingness to persevere and overcome failure. Call it grit, call it courage, or call it resiliency. Whatever you call it, this “mental toughness” is the magic that allows us to make our dreams and desires come true.

I have been the person (and frankly sometimes still am) that gives up and gets defeated when things got hard, and I can tell you that it’s a vicious cycle without a happy ending. If you tend to give up and get defeated easily, growing the mental “muscle” of grit is a crucial step to creating the life you desire.

“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” ― Greg Kincaid

So, this week practice using more grit and toughness when faced with an obstacle. Don’t give up so quickly without putting up a fight. Here are some ways to help you know if you’re on the right track.

The more passion the better

Have you ever wanted something so bad you would let nothing get in the way? This passionate drive puts the wind in our sails and keeps us moving forward despite rough water. Focus on a dream you’re passionate about. Doing something for a bigger purpose goes a long way. #ThisIsGrit

Learn from other risk-takers

Whether it’s Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, or Albert Einstein, there are many stories of people who struggled to reach their dreams. They went for it, failed along the way but didn’t give up. I believe the major difference between these people and everyone else isn’t their talent, skills, or intellect.

It’s their willingness to cultivate these traits, work hard, and never give in to defeat. It’s their attitude that makes the difference. Find one of these underdog stories, read it and get inspired! #ThisIsGrit

Get physically fit and feel the burn

Our physical strength and wellness relates directly to our mental toughness. This is because it takes discipline and hard work to get in peak physical shape.

Learning to push your limits in the physical domain will strengthen you confidence and motivation in other areas as well. When you feel healthy and physically strong, you show up to the game of life in a more powerful way. #ThisIsGrit

Get uncomfortable

Have you ever seen this image before?where-the-magic-happens There is a lot of wisdom in this simple idea. Our comfort zone is meant to expand throughout our life. To flourish and be truly alive we must never stop growing, improving, and evolving.

As Benjamin Franklin is quoted to have said, “some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” Don’t live most of your life dead inside. If you want to be more fulfilled and reach your potential it’s important to live at your edge.

Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. What can you do that pushes your limits and beliefs? #ThisIsGrit

Take Baby Steps

Just like Bill Murray’s character says in the movie What About Bob, “All I have to do is take one little step at a time and I can do anything.” This funny movie also has some very practical advice. If we are working toward something that seems out of reach it can be easy to want to give up. When we take these baby steps our dreams don’t seem so overwhelming and out of reach.

Break things into small steps. Make sure you focus on what is doable, or what the next best step is. #ThisIsGrit

Elevate your state

If there is one thing that gets in the way of making our desires a reality it’s when we react negatively to failure. That is why the conversation of “elevating your state” is a common one with my coaching clients.

I’m sure you’ve had those moments when an idea doesn’t work or your plans don’t unfold as expected. This is a crucial point in whether we respond productively or react irrationally. We can feel deflated and get into a negative state of mind, or learn how to bounce back and cultivate a more positive mood.

Next time something troubling happens, instead of feeling fearful, ashamed, and insignificant, find ways to fuel creativity, inspiration and hope. #ThisIsGrit

A negative state of mind only will get in the way of your dreams. (Read this post about how to elevate your state of mind for more information) Try building your resiliency muscle this week by using some of these ideas.

Or, if want to learn more about your level of grit take this Grit Scale by Angela Lee Duckworth PhD from University of Penn and see how you score. Or, watch her TED talk here.