No question, grit is having a moment.
Everyone wants to develop it.
And admittedly, there is something romantic about passionate determination overcoming all odds.
Except that the scientific literature shows that grit is basically the genetic personality trait of conscientiousness – a GENETIC trait – meaning that it’s not very developable, especially in adults. (Angela Duckworth, the grit researcher, admitted that this criticism of her theory is valid).
In pursuit of our goals, we often confuse the value of the goal with the value of the path taken to get there. In doing so, we often ignore our strengths, trying to acquire the strengths society deems valuable instead. We’re swayed by societal consensus on what is a “good” characteristic. Grit is only the latest example of that.
So what should one do if one isn’t gritty but still has a goal? Instead of striving to become more gritty, it’d be far more productive to leverage the strengths one does have. Perhaps it’s motivating your friends to join you, thereby harnessing the power of peer pressure. Or creating better systems and habits.
Because asking “why can’t I be gritty?” is about as useful as a zebra asking why it can’t be a rhinoceros when its true goal is finding a watering hole.