Shannon Presley Alexander
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From holiday break to spring break and a few snow days in between, have you started to fall into a lacksidasical pattern? It can sneak up on you; however, knowing the school year is starting to unwind makes the situation much easier to give into. So how do you fight the battle and stay dedicated through the last few months of school? Where do you get the perseverance to stay focused when it’s so easy to just go with the flow?

First let’s consider if ‘going with the flow’ is being successful. If you aren’t giving all you got, does it count? I guess it depends on who you ask. However for all intents and purposes of completing high school, and soon after graduating college, you need to be on top of your game to be successful. Did you know that one of the most crucial factors of being successful is possessing a high level of grit? This is part of your character development. So if going with the flow doesn’t put us on the route to success and this characteristic does, what does it look like? And can it be taught?

What is grit? According to Merriam – Webster, grit is “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger”. It’s about your fortitude, doing what you’ve purposely set out to do. Did you know that your grit or ability to weather the storm is more indicative of your success than your IQ? In fact, the United States Department of Education released a major report entitled, Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. The report’s main message proclaims that to succeed in school and life, personal characteristics and social skills are just as significant as intelligence. These are obviously hard to measure but like anything else, the more you aim to develop your character in these areas, the stronger your resolve will be.

If asked about your level of grit, where would you fall on the spectrum? Do you have a high, medium, or low level of grit? In case you’re not sure, let’s look at a few things that help build this competency.

    1. Read about it… talk about it…books, articles, speakers, TED talks, etc. The more you read, hear, and talk about grit, the more you’ll know and the easier it will be to recognize it. Share examples of those that have grit. As you read about these people share their story with others.
    2. Learn from the challenges you encounter; take time to understand why they occurred, what the success was, what could be done differently and then do it again!
    3. Don’t be afraid of failure! Failure makes you stronger. Recognize the opportunities that arise; when you identify how not to do something the next time you attempt it, it should get easier.
    4. Challenge the inclination to quit when the going gets tough; press on towards the goal!

Grit is only one critical factor of success in the 21st century. I’d like to take the next few weeks to dive in deeper, exposing you to all the factors the US Department of Education found most critical. Through the tips and tricks that we will be exploring, you will be prepared to take hold, empower yourself and reach for it!

“I Can is more important than your IQ!” -Robin Sherma