Developing GRIT: how to build optimism for success and happiness

Developing GRIT: how to build optimism for success and happiness

by Thomas Boyce for the American Management Association’s Playbook

Why is it that some people are more prone to success than others? Research featured in articles published in Forbes and the New York Times suggest they have a quality called GRIT.

GRIT has become a buzzword in today’s business world. However, little work has been done to truly understand how GRIT can be learned, much less applied, in a business setting to make success more likely. As I noted in a recent AMA webcast, individuals can drive toward success by becoming more optimistic.

A four-part model of GRIT

GRIT is commonly defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. I propose that the well-known psychological constructs of growth mindset, self-efficacy, personal control, and learned optimism can be combined to produce behaviors exemplary of GRIT. This conceptualization provides a decades-rich behavioral science platform from which anyone can learn and use new competencies to achieve desired results.

The AMA seminar GRIT: What Successful People Have in Common synthesizes this approach. Here are the four components of GRIT…

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