Building resilience and grit varies person-to-person and is influenced by one’s culture. Still, the APA offers ten ways to build resilience that just about anyone can do.
- If you are not a social person, becoming more social, i.e., purposely connecting with others, can help.
- Get control over how you respond to the adverse events you experience.
- The Greek philosopher Heraclitus gets credit for saying, “The only constant in life is change.” Get used to it. Sometimes a goal needs to be abandoned because it is no longer attainable. The inability to accept things that one cannot change is like continuing to spin a chainless wheel.
- Apply the Kaizen principle to your goals. Start with the absolute smallest component that relates to the larger, long-term goal. As Walt Disney famously said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
- Commit to making decisions when you find yourself in a tough situation. There is no room for wishy-washy actions.
- We can learn a lot about ourselves when we struggle through a bad experience. How have our relationships grown? How have we gained strength or perspective?
- Forget negative self-talk. Trust that you know yourself better than anyone else, and you have the intelligence and power to make forthright decisions. You can solve problems as they arise.
- Bad things will happen. Try to think about them from a lifelong perspective. Draw a line on a paper representing the day you were born to the age you believe you will die. Mark off significant life events, positive and negative along that line. Place a line on that paper that represents your current age. Put a dot on that line to mark the current adversity. In the grand scheme of your life, how significant is that dot? When you look back at past events, how much or how little did they affect your life now?
- Practice optimism. This is not a denial of the bad. It is an acknowledgment of the good and what is possible in your life.
- Practice self-compassion, get some exercise, learn something new, and spend time laughing.
Not surprisingly, doing several of those ten things also can help you develop grit.
Duckworth created the Grit Scale so you can discover how gritty you are. It is a ten-question, Likert-type survey. You rate your level of agreement with each statement. Your grit score ranges from 0.0 to 5.0. The higher the score, the grittier you are as compared to the results of other American adults who participated in the most recent study (though this is not specifically identified.) Results are immediately provided.