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Grit: The Top Predictor Of Success

Why do some companies consistently outperform their competition? Why do some people become champions while others fall short? What skills do you need to improve to reach your highest potential?

We've all asked these questions as we strive to achieve our personal best; decoding the traits of success is a multi-billion dollar industry. Leaders sprint to embrace the newest tech gadgets and management tactics to gain even the slightest competitive edge.

How ironic that a back-to-basics approach carries the day: It turns out that good old-fashioned grit is the number one indicator of high performance.

Research defining grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals found that as a trait, grit had better predictability for success than IQ. The experts break it down and list these attributes as the building blocks of grit:

  • A clear goal
  • Determination despite others' doubts
  • Self-confidence about figuring it out
  • Humility about knowing it doesn't come easy
  • Persistence despite fear
  • Patience to handle the small obstacles that obscure the path
  • A code of ethics to live by
  • Flexibility in the face of roadblocks
  • A capacity for human connection and collaboration
  • A recognition that accepting help does not equate to weakness
  • A focus and appreciation of each step in the journey
  • An appreciation of other people's grit
  • A loyalty that never sacrifices connections along the way
  • An inner strength to help propel you to your goal


More important than a go-get-'em-tiger pep talk, you can actually build, screen for, and measure grit. The Grit Test, developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, is a simple questionnaire that helps you determine your Grit Score. It's worth four minutes to find out how much mojo you and your team have so you can get about building more of it.

Brainiac pencil-pushers, entitled trust-fund babies, and well-dressed charmers are not the only ones that snag the brass ring after all. The good news is that grit comes from within, and none of us are precluded from building this attribute.

It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, come from a good neighborhood, have a fancy-pants degree, or are good looking. We all have nearly limitless potential, and the opportunity to seize it is waiting for you.

Let old-school grit and determination serve as the catalyst to achieving your own personal greatness.  You don't need another tech gadget; just the same killer app that has been foundation of success since the beginning of civilization.

For insight and ideas around creativity, innovation, and success please visit  

[Image: Flickr user tpuyol]

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  • Dcarbonephd

    Check out the 10-minute You Tube video by DavidCarbone under the You Tube channel, The New Jim Crow Project of Princeton, NJ, for a real life example for using "grit" in personal achievement.

  • Joshua Weaver

    I agree with everyone having untapped potential. But I'm not sure one should select for "grit" despite it's admirable characteristics. Selection tools need to be legally defensible and even then sometimes shouldn't be used, i.e. general mental ability.