When you look at a celebrity on T.V., a rising star in the office, or an impressively fit person at the gym, it’s easy to attribute their success to in-born talent, circumstance, and luck.
This is especially true when it comes to fitness, because your results are inextricably tied to your genetics.
That is, you can work just as hard as someone else or even harder, and they still might get better results in the end.
And once you realize this, it becomes very easy to rationalize your lack of progress.
That person is stronger than you? Must be nice to have so much time to work out.
That person is more muscular than you? Must be nice to have won the genetic lottery.
That person is leaner than you? If only you had their metabolism.
This kind of fixed mindset is comforting, but it’s also pernicious. It erodes your self confidence, saps your motivation, and poisons your perception of what you can achieve.
And it overlooks something even more important than genetics, upbringing, and luck for achieving your goals:
Research shows that grit, sand, pluck, spunk, moxie, or whatever else you want to call it, is a much better predictor of your success in almost any endeavor than genetics or luck.
As you’ll learn in this podcast, grit is one of the most important common denominators among all high-achievers, whether in the realms of fitness, sports, business, or the arts.
So, keep listening if you want to learn . . .
- What grit is
- How your grittiness affects your ability to get in shape
- The four most effective ways to get more gritty
- And more . . .
Let’s get started!
4:58 – What is grit?
17:02 – What can I do if grit doesn’t come easy for me?
19:15 – Four key ways to increase grittiness
19:26 – Pursuing passion with a purpose
25:01 – Believing in positive prospects
29:09 – Practice, practice, practice
34:49 – Find your people
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for this new episode and this time around I’m gonna talk to you about grit, what it is and how it relates to achieving success, and particularly in competitive arenas like business and fitness and sports.
And most of the. Activities we like to do outside of our hobbies, and for many of us, even our hobbies are a bit competitive as well. And I’m gonna give you a few easy and evidence based ways to increase your grit quotient. So when you look at a rising star on tv, you know a celebrity who everyone loves, or maybe a top tier athlete who’s.
On the top of their game, or maybe just a really fit person in the gym. It’s easy to think that they got there through inborn talent and maybe a bit of luck, but mostly just talent. And in fitness, this can manifest in many different ways, but some of the more common ones I have observed over the years are, Oh, it must be nice to have so much time to work out.
Oh, it must be nice to have such great genetics. It must be nice to have such a great metabolism, those types of things. This is referred to in psychology as a fixed mindset. It assumes that our characteristics are fixed and that we can’t really make any great changes to who we are fundamentally and how we behave and our attitudes and so forth.
And that view of life can be. Comforting because it can absolve us of responsibility and the need to work, but it also erodes self-confidence. It’s SAP’s motivation and it poisons your perception of what you actually can do because we all can achieve a lot more than we are currently achieving. I include myself in that statement, and I would include myself in this statement as well, that all of us can also almost certainly achieve a lot more than we think we can.
And that is especially true if we are willing to give one factor the attention it deserves a factor that isn’t as sexy as genetics, upbringing, or luck, and that is grit. Research shows that grit, which can be. Swapped for other terms, you could say pluck or spunk or moxy. This quality is a much better predictor of success in just about any endeavor in life than genetics or luck or just circumstances.
And as you will learn in this podcast, Grit is actually one of the most important and the most impactful common denominators among high achievers of all kinds, whether we are talking fitness, sports, business, or even the arts. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion.
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On your entire first order. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you also want all natural evidence based supplements that work, please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like this. Okay, so let’s start with a simple definition of the term.
What is grit? Researchers define it as passion and perseverance for long term goals. And just to go a little bit further, passion is defined as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. And perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty. Or delay in achieving whatever you wanna achieve.
And that’s a key point. Somebody with a high level of perseverance doesn’t just keep on when things are going well, but continues when they are not going well as well. They push through difficulties, they overcome obstacles, and they come up with often creative and resourceful ways to. Now to many people, grit sounds basically synonymous to work ethic or conscientiousness or tenacity, and there is overlap between these different qualities.
But what makes grit unique is that it describes the quality of consistently working at to use the good to great term. A big, hairy, audacious goal, A, B, a G, no matter what you encounter, it is the whatever it takes mentality. People with grit, they will climb over, dig under, and smash through whatever is in their way to get what they want, and they’re willing to forgo any amount of pleasure in pursuit of that bigger.
Prize. They will sacrifice their time. They will sacrifice their energy. They will sacrifice their money. They will often sacrifice their health, even though that is something that I would only be willing to sacrifice if circumstances really demanded it. I am not of the mindset that you should work so hard at your career, for example, that you completely neglect your body.
You don’t sleep well, you don’t exercise, you don’t eat well. You let yourself get really out of shape and overweight. I understand, and I do admire in one sense, people who can do that, who basically don’t want to take the time away from their work to take care of their body and who use every minute of that extra time to just work harder at.
Career or some other goal. But I think that is a shortsighted approach to living because you can get away with that for a time, but eventually it will catch up with you and you are going to have accrued a lot of health and fitness debt, so to speak, that you’re gonna have to work much harder to pay off and you’re gonna have to work harder in a literal sense, in a physical In the gym, harder sense, but it’s also going to be psychologically harder.
It is harder to get really outta shape and then work to get in shape. It’s harder psychologically and emotionally to do that than it is to just stay in pretty good shape and then work to get into really good shape, for example. But anyway, my point is gritty. People are willing to endure. Many slings and arrows of setbacks and defeats and failures, as well as the inevitable doldrums of despair and boredom that are major factors in any major undertaking.
There is the dip, as Seth God likes to call it, that middle period where you are just slogging away and you are no longer. Excited about everything as you were when you began, and in some cases you’re not sure if you are really making that much progress, but you just have to keep going even when you are not emotionally into it and depending on what you are trying to do, that dip might be a long time.
That might be a year or two years or even longer. And gritty people are able to maintain their resolve. Of course, they can’t maintain their enthusiasm throughout the entire endeavor. Nobody can do that, but they can maintain their determination. They can just show up to the coal face every day, regardless of how they feel and do the work.
Now, this concept is, Not a revelation. This is something that most of us know inherently, especially those of us who have studied history at all. If you study about very successful people, whether we are talking military commanders or business people, or artists or politicians or whatever, we will.
Basically every single time see grit in action. We will see people who possessed a tremendous amount of it. I’m talking about people like Caesar and Alexander the Great, and if we want to talk business. John Rockefeller Senior was a great example of this. Ray Dalio is a great example of this in politics.
Benjamin Franklin, Marcus Arres, if you read about those people, It’s hard to miss that grit was a vital ingredient to their success. That though that observation is being vindicated now by scientific research because countless studies over the past few decades have proven that grit. Is one of the best predictors of success in a wide range of activities.
Spelling, bees, and basic training in the army, and weight loss and muscle building, and really anything related to fitness, because of course, to lose weight, you’re gonna have to stick to your diet fairly well for at least several weeks before you really see. Signs of progress, and it’s gonna take probably several months to ultimately reach your goal.
And as far as muscle building goes, that is even more difficult in this regard because if you are currently normal, if you have a normal physique and you want to get fairly jacked, Yes, men and women have different definitions for that. So use whichever definition is applicable to you. You’re gonna have to work hard and work consistently for, if you’re a guy, probably at least three years, to get to a point where you would consider yourself fairly jacked.
And as a woman, it takes at least a year, probably more like two years to get to the point where most women have. Basic physique that they want. And that means they have to gain 10 to 15 pounds or so of muscle in the right places, and they have to reduce their body fat level to probably somewhere around 20%.
And that’s where most women that I’ve worked with over the years are happiest. And that takes, yeah, a year. To years. And as far as staying healthy and vibrant and living as long as we can that’s something we’re gonna do for the rest of our life. There are several key behaviors that we are going to have to consistently engage in for the rest of our life.
And then there are several key behaviors we are going to have to consistently avoid if we want to live a long and enjoyable. Life. Now, I mentioned that scientific studies have looked into grit and how it impacts our ability to do many things. And I wanna mention a couple of these studies that relate to fitness in particular.
One good example comes from scientists over at Chicago State University and they looked at the relationship between grit and exercise habits. Now what they did is they had 1,171 people complete a survey that assessed. Levels of grit, conscientiousness, which would be the tendency to be goal oriented and organized, and how intensely they exercised.
And what the researchers found is that conscientiousness actually didn’t predict how much or how hard people worked out that as people who scored relatively high on that personality trait of being goal oriented and being organized toward those goals. Were actually not more hashtag dedicated to their training than people who scored fairly low in conscientiousness.
The people who scored the highest in terms of grit though, were 30% more likely to train the hardest versus reports of moderate or low intensity exercise. And these people generally worked out more often than people who score. The lowest in terms of grit, so their compliance to their program is better.
They showed up to the gym more often and they worked harder when they were there. As you might expect, research shows that grittiness can help you lose weight more effectively as well. For example, in a study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois, the researchers had 79 women complete a survey that measured their grittiness and recorded their weight and bmi, and then the women enrolled in a one year long weight gain prevent.
Study. So these women were not trying to lose weight, but just to not gain weight, which is more difficult for most people. Many people can starve themselves to lose weight. They can just cut their calories in half for let’s say 4, 5, 6 weeks, but they cannot keep the weight off. Most people who are not a regular listener here, they slowly gain weight year after.
And then one day are surprised at how much different they look. Usually when they look at pictures, it is insidious because when you gain weight slowly and you look at yourself in the mirror every day, nothing much changes in terms of the day to day. But then if you look back at a picture of yourself five, 10 years ago, becomes immediately apparent that, Holy shit, I’ve gained 30 pounds.
Anyway. In this study as a part of the weight gain prevention program, the participants met with a registered dietician or a counselor about twice a month throughout the study and in the meetings, they learned about the fundamentals of proper dieting. They learned about energy balance, and macronutrient balance, and the importance of staying active and, burning calories and staying motivated and minimizing stress and getting enough sleep and so forth.
They learned quite a bit more than the average. Person knows. And at the end of the study, the researchers then again measured the weight in BMI of all of the participants and had them do a survey that assessed their grittiness. And once again, what the researchers found is that the women who scored highest on that grittiness survey at the beginning of the study were the most successful at keeping the weight off.
And many of them even lost weight. And there’s even research that. An association between grittiness and just overall happiness. There was a study that was conducted by scientists at Oklahoma State University where 470 students completed a questionnaire that assessed their grittiness and health related quality of life and healthcare management skills.
So this test, what it did is it assessed their physical fitness. Emotional health, their energy and fatigue levels, their social functioning and their general health. How often they got sick and so forth. This was just a good overview of how healthy they were and how healthy their lifestyle was and how well they.
Were living. And it also looked at some of their adulting skills, to use a word I don’t like, such as the ability to take medications when you’re supposed to take them in the right amounts and to make and keep healthcare appointments and to track their health, communicate with doctors and so forth. As you can imagine by now, the people who had the most grit also scored the highest in terms of overall quality of life, both in the physical and the mental domains, as well as healthcare management skills.
Now, at this point, you might be thinking, Okay, that’s cool, and I could see how a high level of grit can translate into a high level of success in pretty much anything I might want to do, but it doesn’t come. For me, I’m not a very gritty person, so what should I do? I’m so glad you asked because what is perhaps most encouraging and most interesting about grittiness is it can be learned.
Some people do come into the world with more of it. Than others, but it is not as immutable as iq, for example, which can be improved. But the current weight of the evidence is that we all are born with a ceiling of general intelligence. Now, how far we can progress toward that ceiling does depend on behaviors and education and other things.
But the current prevailing theory is no matter what we do, we can only get so smart. And for someone whose ceiling is, let’s say, an IQ of 110, then they are always going to be at a disadvantage compared to someone who, let’s say, has a ceiling of 160 and who is currently functioning at only maybe 130 or a hundred and.
Five, but that’s a big enough difference to really change the outcomes of many different activities that those people could engage in. Grittiness, however, is a lot more malleable. You might have heard of someone named Dr. Angela Duckworth. She is a psychology professor at Penn State University and she has popularized the term grit.
She has spent her entire career. Studying it and how to increase it. She has written a bestselling book on the topic and she has advised White House staffers and Fortune 500 CEOs and professional athletes, and she also gave a TED talk on grit that is one of the most viewed of all time. And through her extensive research, Dr.
Duckworth has identified four key ways to increase grittiness. One is pursue passions with a purpose. Two is believe in positive prospects. Three is practice. And four is find your people. So let’s talk about these. Let’s talk about pursuing passion with a purpose. Do you enjoy running?
Or do you think that you have to run the lose weight and you just do it because that’s the only way. Are you following a low carb diet because you really like it or because some fake guru or fake doctor on Instagram said that’s what you have to do? What about intermittent fasting? You really like that?
Or would you rather eat on a normal schedule? My point is one of the reasons many people think they lack grit is really just because they’re wasting a lot of their willpower on activities that they just don’t care that much about. And in the case of running and low carb dieting and intermittent fasting, that is wasting willpower on activities that.
Are completely unnecessary. So before you tell yourself that, Oh, you’re just not grit enough, you don’t have enough grit in you to achieve your fitness goals, for example, why don’t we take a moment to reassess those goals? So you wanna lose weight. Do you need to run? No, of course not. Can you do other.
Types of cardio. Maybe something you enjoy more. What about cycling? What about rowing? What about swimming? What about dancing? What about not doing cardio at all? If you don’t wanna do cardio, could we do something else for your training? I would love for you to train your muscles regardless. Can we just do, let’s say, four to six hours of resistance training per week and forget the cardio.
How about that? Does that peak your interest? What about adding some walking? Could we do that? Could you do the resistance training? And then could you go for some walks during the week? Maybe do a few hours of walking per week outside? Ideally, not on a treadmill inside, but let’s get outside and really ideal.
Let’s get into nature. Do you have a trail You can go walk on maybe first thing in the morning because that is going to enhance your mood. As far as a diet goes on the low carb side of things, yes, it’s very trendy, but research clearly shows low carb dieting is no better for losing fat, especially over the long term than higher carb dieting.
So it really comes down to what is going to work best for you. Same thing goes for intermittent fasting. It can work so long as you have a reasonable protocol. I would recommend the Lean Gains protocol. Which is an eight hour eating window, followed by a 16 hour fasting period. That’s it. Basically, it’s skip breakfast.
You start eating around 12 or one. That’s how most people do it, at least. And if you like that, if you like skipping breakfast, cool. If you don’t why don’t you just eat on a schedule that works? For you. Again, these things are not a matter of grit. It’s simply a matter of not making things harder than they need to be.
Because even the grittiest people only have so much willpower. They only have so much discipline before even they break down. And so we have this first crucial step of narrowing down the things that are truly important. And in terms of fitness, one big. Element that a lot of people overlook. A lot of people are quick to jump into the mechanics, the howtos.
How do I make a meal plan? How do I make a workout plan? How do I not cheat too much on my diet, et cetera, et cetera. But they don’t take time to assess. Why are we doing this? And I’ve written about this in bigger leaders, stronger and thin, lean stronger, and also over at the blog, [email protected].
I recommend that people find their fitness wise, they figure out what is really going to fire them up, what is really going to keep them on track. So for example, Are you wanting to lose weight just because you want to impress people, or is it because taking care of your body is important to you? Do you want to get stronger just because you think it’s fun to put bigger numbers down into your workout log?
Or is it something like staying healthy and vital? Active into your old age or maybe keeping up with your kids and even your grandkids. And as far as eating healthier goes, is it simply a point of vanity or is it also maybe setting a good example for your friends or for your kids? A great example of this is the actor Ethan Ley, who I interviewed on my podcast, eh, a couple of months ago, and who has his own popular podcast now called American Glutton.
So Ethan played the fat guy in Hollywood for a long time, and he. Told me that he enjoyed being fat. He actually liked it. He liked being big. He liked eating a lot of food. But there was a point when he realized that if he wanted to be around for his wife and kids who he loves dearly, he couldn’t go on like he was.
He would have to get in shape. And this is a guy who has gained and lost over a thousand pounds, I mean over decades of dieting and then binging and diet. Ethan finally decided to do it right and to make it stick, and now he’s jacked. Basically, you can go check him out on Instagram. So my point here though is find out really what makes you tick.
And if you’re not sure, pick up bigger, lean, or stronger if you’re a man or thinly or stronger if you’re a woman, and go through the exercise. That I give in those books, you will find your fitness wise and they will be more meaningful than, Oh, I just want great biceps and apps. Okay, let’s move on to the next point from Dr.
Duckworth, and that is believing in positive. Prospects. So this is, the old adage, just believe in yourself, which of course is cliche, but there is a lot of truth in there because you can have all the passion in the world for doing whatever it is that you want to do. If we’re talking fitness for working out and eating well, watching your calories, watching your macros, getting plenty of nutritious food.
But if you don’t really believe that change is possible, especially. Your behaviors and your attitudes, you are never going to be as gritty as you could be. We know from previous research that having a growth mindset, so that’s the opposite of the fixed mindset I mentioned earlier, and this is the belief that you can change, is predictive of better motivation, which is just natural because it gives you hope and it gives you something to work toward, and that then in turn can increase grit.
So when things get tough, and they always will, if you’re trying to. Anything, Expect adversity and invite it. That’s what makes it fun. Think of a life without adversity. Really think what that would be like. Yeah, it would be relieving at first for a little bit, but then think about how bored you would actually get, because without obstacles, you don’t have a game.
If all you have is freedoms and goals and. Go straight to your goals without having to overcome anything. That’s no fun. That’s boring. Anybody who played a lot of sports growing up remembers you remember when you just got too good for the team that you were on and you just got bored, and then you move up to the next tier and all of a sudden you go from the best player on the team, maybe even one of the best players in your league to just another player.
And it’s a bit jarring at first. I. Playing hockey. I remember that experience several times. It requires an adjustment and it definitely is humbling, but it also then gives you a game again, it stimulates your interest, it brings you alive. Now you have something to struggle against, right? And. So when things get tough, many people are quick to say, Oh, this isn’t meant to be.
It shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t be like this. It should just always be smooth sailing and enjoyable. That must not be meant to have the body I really want. It’s just not in the cards for me. No. No. If these people can just change their thinking and just believe that, yep, their goal is possible and the challenges that they are facing are supposed to be there, and they also make the reward more satisfying, then they can start to look at those challenges as just speed bumps along the road to wherever they’re trying.
Get. So for instance, let’s say you’ve lost five pounds over a period and you wanted to lose 10 pounds, and now you’re stuck. Your weight has been stuck for a few weeks, and you’re starting to wonder if you’ll ever get there. Take a moment and remind yourself that you absolutely can lose the 10 pounds.
You lost five pounds. If you can lose five pounds, you can lose. 10 pounds. So really, let’s just take a step back. Let’s view this situation objectively. Let’s look at the most common causes of a weight loss plateau or of slower than desirable weight loss. And if you’re curious about that, head over to legion athletics.com, Search for weight loss plateau, and you’ll find an article I wrote on it and you will find a solution quickly.
Then you’ll find more grit. Once you have that solution that you believe in that makes sense to you, you will be excited to implement it and to see if it works. And again, remember you already lost weight. You already figured out something that worked. You will be able to make it work again. Now, what’s also cool about grit is the more you go through that process, The greater you become, the more confidence you gain in your ability to succeed in other areas as well, because you realize that the way to do anything is the way to do everything.
All right. Next up on the list we have practice. And this is important because the more you do, Anything, the better you get it. It really, it’s that simple, and the better you get it something, the more you enjoy it. And then the more you enjoy it, the more you want to do it, and the more you want to do something, the grittier you are going to be regarding it, the more likely you are going to be to do it and to do it well regardless of the circumstances.
So it’s a virtuous circle, right? It’s a positive self reinforcing feedback. Loop and we are fortunate that developing grit is just a skill. It’s something that we can all learn, and the more we train these muscles, the stronger they become. It really can also just ultimately turn into a habit. And just like creating any other habit, building grit involves setting small goals with relatively short term deadlines that then keep you on track toward the bigger goals.
One of the most common mistake. People make in trying to build good habits or eliminate bad habits is they just try to take on too much too fast. Let’s say somebody says, I wanna start reading every day. I wanna build that good habit. They set themselves a target of let’s say, 30 pages a day. They think that sounds reasonable, or maybe they.
Heard someone like me say I read 30 pages a day, and then on day one they read, let’s say 20 pages, and they’re a little bit disappointed. Obviously. They went from, let’s say zero to 20, so that’s encouraging, but they didn’t reach their goal that they set for themselves. So that’s discouraging. But they have enough grit to pick up the book the following day, and they read, let’s say, 10 pages, and that feels very inadequate.
That’s not satisfying at all. And then the following day, it’s five pages, and then maybe the following day it’s zero, and then they pick it up the next day and it’s another five, and then it’s a string of zeros and so forth. A much smarter way to go about it is to reverse. That pattern. So start with something that is so simple that when you think about it, your immediate reaction is, Oh, there’s no way I’m gonna fail at that.
So for example, in the case of reading, start with just five pages per day. Hell, it could be one page per day, or if you wanna think about it in terms of time. Five minutes max, 10 minutes a day. Start there, and then once that is on automatic, once you have established that habit and you are, let’s say, accomplishing it at least 80% of the time, eight out of every 10 days you are doing it, or maybe you want to go for 10 out of 10, you could do that too.
Then increase the difficulty. Let’s say you started with five pages and now 10 out of 10 days in a row, you have read five pages. Okay, let’s go up to 10 pages, or if that’s too much, let’s go up to seven or eight pages and wait until that sticks, and so on and so forth. And then in time, you are reading 30 pages a day like clockwork.
As far as weight loss goes, don’t make the mistake that many people make, which is trying to cut calories in half and doing two hours of cardio every day and getting rid of all of the sugar and other quote unquote, bad foods They’re eating. Why not just start with eating an additional serving or two of vegetables per day?
Just start there and maybe pulling out a serving or two of sugar and then when that is easy, when you are not missing the sugar and when you are eating the. Serving or two of vegetables, additional serving or two of vegetables every day. And the point there, by the way, is not that sugar is just bad if you wanna lose weight, no.
It’s just that foods that contain added sugars often are very palatable and higher calorie. And so if you can replace a serving or two of those foods with vegetables, for example, which are lower calorie and more filling than you are going to have an easier time maintaining a calorie deficit. So let’s say you’ve got that licked and you are.
Eating your vegetables every day and your sugar intake is a little bit lower. You could do another round of that, depending on what your diet’s maybe it’s time to look at meal planning, at sitting down and working out what you like to eat and how many calories and macros those foods have, and what you should be eating in terms of calories and macros, and you don’t have to go all in.
In the beginning, you don’t have to make a meal plan that lays out every single calorie you are going to put in your mouth every day. Maybe you start with the one meal where you tend to overeat the most, the one meal where you find it hardest to control your calories. So maybe it’s dinner. Let’s say, so you’re just gonna start with planning your dinner and making sure that it is a balanced meal that contains a reasonable amount of calories and a reasonable amount of protein, for example.
And then once you have that ingrained, so you’re eating your vegetables every day, you’re eating a bit less sugar, now you’re dinner’s under control, you go back to your meal plan and you then add your lunch into it. Or maybe at that point you. To creating the full plan. The point is you can do just about anything if you can break it down into enough, easily accomplished steps.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you is the leading brand. All natural sports supplements in the. Okay, let’s move on to Dr. Duckworth’s final point, which is find your people.
Now, there’s a quote that you’ve probably heard from Jim Roan, and that is you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Very true. Another cliche that is very true, and especially if we’re talking about grit. Because whether you want to believe it or not, your friends and family and colleagues, even your gym partners, significant others, those people all have a very big influence on how you think and how you feel and how you behave.
And that of course, can greatly affect whether you are naturally inclined toward grittiness or averse. To it. So for instance, if your parents never want to go to restaurants with lower calorie, more nutritious options, if it’s always, let’s say fast food or the sit down equivalent of it, or if your roommate is always badgering you to go out and party instead of go to the gym or go out and party late instead of going to bed so you can get up early and go to the gym or maybe.
Partner always wants to watch a movie and order in fast food instead of taking the time to make a healthy home cooked meal and eat it together without having to stare at a screen, which will improve your ability to control your calories. By the way, mindful eating is not just a buzzword. It is a thing.
It does work. If you have that type of environment, you are going to find it very hard. To be a gritty individual, not because there’s anything wrong with you, but because that’s the way it works. We are social creatures after all, and we tend to conform with the people we spend the most time with. And so then if you want.
To have a lot of grit. If you want to have a lot of sticktuitiveness, then you are going to have to make sure you are not surrounding yourself with very un gritty people. That is going to sabotage any and all efforts that you take in that direction. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean you have to just fire everyone and disappear If you.
At the people who are closest to you, and one for one, they are not very gritty. Here are a few good tips. The first one is break off contact with people who are just net negatives in your life. There are people who just should go. You are not going to change them no matter how much you might want to help and how much they might seem to be receptive to your.
It will not work if people change for the better. Most people do not. As time goes on, they just get worse. But if someone is going to change for the better, it almost always is a long and arduous process that they have to learn through a lot of trial and error and a lot of pain and suffering, they have to learn a lot of.
Hard lessons for them to finally figure out how to become a better person. And if you want to be a part of that, and if you want to devote what could be a lot of your energy to that, I suppose you can. If it’s your kid, I would understand, but if this is just a roommate or a friend, I would say it’s not worth.
Just cut your losses and get outta there. And I have firsthand experience with this. I have made this mistake trying to really help someone change for the better and really showing a lot of compassion and understanding and being a lot easier on this person than I should have considering how devious he really was.
And although, I’m a fairly gritty person and I like to think I’m a fairly tough person. I am not easily dissuaded from my goals, and I do what I need to do every day regardless of how I feel. However, having this person in my life made things a lot more difficult and just less enjoyable than they should have been because I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to lift this guy up.
He was irredeemable. It turns out I didn’t know this, but he has much deeper problems than I realized. I learned this toward the end of our relationship, but he has mental disorders, things that you can’t just turn off because somebody asks you to, or because you even feel bad about it and you don’t want to behave or think that way.
But there’s something deeply. Embedded in you that forces you to be dysfunctional. And so I finally did give him the air. I should have done it a long time ago, but I did finally get around to it and I did it decisively. I cut all ties and I will never speak with him again. And I was surprised at how much of a difference this immediately.
In my life, I was in a better mood every day and I wasn’t having to waste time and energy trying to figure out what I’m gonna do with this guy. And I was able to then put that time and energy into work and I’ve been able to complete quite a few big work projects that would’ve taken a lot longer with him in my life.
And there was just a deep satisfaction knowing that I did. Something that was difficult, but that will ultimately pay big dividends in the long run. And for anyone who’s thinking that, that sounds a little bit callous Mike, we’re talking about a person here. Trust me, this was probably the most dishonest and devious and defective, deeply defective people I’ve ever known and probably will ever.
Like it was really that bad. And so when you have someone who is so intent on destroying themselves and taking anyone they can with them, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna fall on their sword just on principle because you were once close? No, of course not. That makes no sense. And who knows? Maybe my disconnection from him.
Will be a wake up call. Maybe the concussive blow will force him to reflect on what happened and why he finds himself in this situation and why he is ultimately responsible for it. I’m a big proponent of mutual responsibility and not just laying the blame elsewhere, but there are situations where one person is mostly responsible for the negative outcome and the other person is mostly.
Not, and this was one of those situations. Anyway, my point with sharing that story is if you are in a similar position, if there is somebody who is very toxic to use a popular term, and you are dreading getting rid of them because maybe you’ve been friends for a long time or maybe you work together, whether it’s just a coworker or a business partner, I understand.
I’ve been. It’s the proverbial ripping of the bandaid, right? The wound is festering. You can’t leave it. It’s gonna kill you. And if you pull the bandaid off slowly, it’s gonna hurt a lot. So you just rip it off, you grit your teeth, and you just do what has to be done. Knowing that it’s gonna be uncomfortable, and it might cost you money, it might cost you relationships with other people.
It might cost you a bit of your sanity even. Period of time, but you will get through it. And once you are on the other end of it, you are going to look back and wonder why you waited so long, I promise you. Now again, I’m not recommending you do that to all of the people in your life who are challenged in the grit department.
There are gonna be people you want to stay in contact with and where it is appropriate to stay in contact. With, a significant other, maybe parents, a sibling and so forth who are not very gritty. And you can do it in a way where you make it clear politely that you are not interested in their opinions about your health choices.
For example, you don’t have to explain. What you’re doing or why you’re doing, you can if you want to, but you also can just do what you know you need to do and make it clear that you are not going to accept their problems. You are not going to compromise your goals to satisfy them. And keep in mind that, and this, I’m just speaking from experience here, having worked with so many people over the years, oftentimes when we have this crabs in the bucket syndrome, The little story of when you have a bunch of crabs in a bucket and one of the crabs tries to crawl out the other crabs, drag them back down, people behave that way as well.
And I’m not even sure if that’s true of crabs. I should Google it, but it’s certainly true of people often when. People see others around them starting to do better. They don’t want to see those people not do better per se. It’s just they don’t want to be reminded that they are not doing well.
When you start losing weight, you start getting fit. You start achieving other goals. It can make people feel bad about themselves because it holds a mirror up to. And it makes them question what they’re doing. Hey, if that person can do it, why am I not doing it? And instead of just owning up to that in just acknowledging that maybe they’re not gonna get an action, but they don’t have to treat you badly because of it.
They can just. Live with that and say, I’m not willing to do what that person is doing to achieve that goal, and I’m not happy about that, but that’s not their fault. I’m not gonna treat them badly or try to stop them. Most people don’t work that way. Most people who are not doing so well, instead they just try to keep you in the bucket.
And so don’t let them just keep going. And again, you can make it clear politely that you’re not interested in. Their comments, in their suggestions, in their warnings about what you’re doing. You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do. So let’s talk about something else. And if that doesn’t work, if someone insists on trying to undermine your efforts, or heck, During you.
Maybe that’s someone who needs to be blasted out of the airlock because while some philosophers say that everyone is inherently good, nobody is inherently evil. There are plenty of people out there engaging in evil. There are plenty of people out there who derive deep satisfaction from seeing other people.
Not do well from seeing people suffer and fail. And these people, they have this idea that if others were to do well, then they would rise up and crush them. So they have taken it upon themselves. Their mission is to crush others before they are crushed. And this person I was describing to you earlier in the podcast is probably one of these types of personalities.
And I’m talking like dark triad stuff, Not nice. Okay. One more tip regarding who you surround yourself with, and this is a positive one. That is find and join a group of people who are trying to do the same thing that you’re trying to do. So let’s say with health and fitness, people who are working to lose weight and gain muscle and get stronger.
People who value grit and who are embodying. That’s one of the reasons why CrossFit has done so well and why Peloton is doing so well. In the case of CrossFits, the workouts are usually goofy and not optimal for most people who want to just get fitter, especially people who really just wanna focus on losing fat and gaining muscle.
And in terms of Peloton, it’s just biking after all, however, CrossFit and Peloton, they give people a community of like-minded, enthusiastic, gritty people who support one another. And that can be huge in increasing your grit. And that point of support is worth elaborating on a little bit more because it can be a major impediment or a major.
Advantage. So let’s say your best friend is an all or nothing type of person, right? So they’re always picking up something new or starting after some new goal and then they abandon that for something else and then they abandon that for something else. Eh, probably not the best person to depend on for support if you are wanting to achieve something.
Let’s say though that your coworker always seems to be on top of their, let’s say, health and fitness. We can just. To what we like to talk about here at Muscle for Life, what we mostly like to talk about . If that person is consistent, maybe they could help you level up. Maybe they would be a much better part of your support network.
And one other thing I should mention is before you just start throwing people in your life, wholesale onto the room of the cutting floor, make sure that you have communicated. With them, because sometimes that’s all it takes is a little bit of productive communication to completely eliminate whatever friction might be there.
So do these people know what you are trying to do? Do they know why? Do they know why that’s important to you? Have you told them explicitly why you are making these changes? And would these people be more supportive if you were. More clear about what it is that you’re doing and the reason you’re doing it.
You might be surprised at how quickly people can flip their script after a conversation like this. All right we have covered a lot in this podcast. I hope you have found it helpful, and I’ll just wrap up with a quick summary. So the goal for us is to increase our grittiness, and we could define grit as passion.
And perseverance for long term goals. And the grittier we are, the more willing we will be to endure discomfort and disappointment and difficulty, and sometimes downright despair in pursuit of goals. And we will just keep going. We will not. Quit research shows that grittiness is correlated with success in many different areas of life, and that’s certainly true of health and fitness.
The gritter you are, the more likely you are going to be to stick to your workout program and to workout hard. When you do workout, the more likely you are to lose weight when you wanna lose weight, and to maintain your weight and body composition when you want to do that, and the better you’re gonna.
Taking care of yourself at just having a higher quality of life. And four, evidence based tips for becoming better at being gritty and you can become better. It is a skill. They are pursuing passions with a purpose, believing in positive possibilities in the ability to change and improve yourself in your circumstances.
The third one is practice. And the fourth and final is to find. People. So if you do those things, you are going to be far ahead. You are going to have a huge head start on many of your peers when it comes to your health and fitness goals, as well as really any other goals that you have.
It could be career related or maybe it’s just even hobby related. Oh, you want. To learn how to play the guitar well, If you are a very gritty person, you are going to learn how to play the guitar. It is going to happen. It is only a question of when. All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier As.
And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com, just muscle F or life.com, and share your thoughts on how I can do this better.
I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is c. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email. That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com.
And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.
+ Scientific References
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- GRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE - ProQuest. https://search.proquest.com/openview/97e0d161e9eb65b777a5306fdf846db3/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=41677. Accessed February 21, 2020.
- Sharkey CM, Bakula DM, Gamwell KL, Mullins AJ, Chaney JM, Mullins LL. The Role of Grit in College Student Health Care Management Skills and Health-Related Quality of Life. J Pediatr Psychol. 2017;42(9):952-961. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jsx073
- The Role of Grit in Body Weight Regulation over Time | The FASEB Journal. https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.30.1_supplement.410.6. Accessed February 21, 2020.
- Grit, conscientiousness, and the transtheoretical model of change for exercise behavior. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.968.646&rep=rep1&type=pdf. Accessed February 21, 2020.
- The Role of Grit in Body Weight Regulation over Time | The FASEB Journal. https://www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.30.1_supplement.410.6. Accessed February 21, 2020.
- Kelly DR, Matthews MD, Bartone PT. Grit and hardiness as predictors of performance among west point cadets. Mil Psychol. 2014;26(4):327-342. doi:10.1037/mil0000050
- Duckworth AL, Kirby TA, Tsukayama E, Berstein H, Ericsson KA. Deliberate Practice Spells Success. Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2011;2(2):174-181. doi:10.1177/1948550610385872
- Duckworth AL, Quinn PD. Development and validation of the short Grit Scale (Grit-S). J Pers Assess. 2009;91(2):166-174. doi:10.1080/00223890802634290