Do You Have Grit?

Creating art takes both courage and confidence. Courage improvises and confidence rehearses. It takes courage to approach the paper or canvas and put down that first stroke. We start our process with courage but to continue we need confidence. After that first stroke is down, we need confidence to continue. Where does that courage and confidence originate from?

Courage comes from the passion we have for creating art. Our passion drives us forward but then confidence takes us through to the conclusion. Dr. Duckworth, a psychologist from the University of Pennsylvannia, calls that combination of passion and perserverance, grit.

Grit is about holding on to a goal even when progress is slow and success seems elusive. Dr. Duckworth has found that grit matters more than talent or luck to attaining success. Grit is not something people are usually born with but something that can be developed through practice. To develop grit you need to practice the "Hard Thing Rule". There are three parts to this rule:

Part one: select one hard thing that requires daily and deliberate practice. Perhaps creating art would fulfill this requirement.

Part two: You must not quit, but practice every day, especially on a bad day. Choose an amount of time to practice and stay committed during the entire time. (As I have stated before, this doesn't have to be an extended period of time, one hour is fine, so is 45 minutes.)

Part three: Only you can pick your hard thing. Even though I am encouraging you to use this plan to develop your art, you are the only one who can determine what your hard thing will be. It would make no sense to do a hard thing that does not interest you.

How gritty are you? Dr Duckworth has developed a three question test that will tell you your degree of grittyness. Answer each statement with one of the following:

1. Very much like me

2. Mostly like me

3.Somewhat like me

4. Not much like me

5. Not like me at all

____New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

____Setbacks don't discourage me. I don't give up easily.

____I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.

People with high levels of grit typically answer "not like me at all" for statements 1 and 3 and "very much like me" for statement 2.

Develop your grit to give yourself the courage and confidence to succeed at your art or whatever goal you pick as your "Hard Thing".


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