Grit is a noncognitive skill, meaning it has less to do with your reasoning, memory or physical skills and more to do with your mindset, motivation, attitude, efforts, communication, self-control and personal efficacy.
It is that ‘thing’ that makes you take another step ahead even when your energies are near zero on a mountain hike. It is that reserve where from you pull out an effort for the 51st push up when your last best record was 50.
Grit is a ‘bias’ for achieving a desired ‘end-state’ no matter what. An end-state could be losing or gaining 10 kilos by the time summer ends, it could be earning a college education, it could be financial freedom, it could be setting up a million dollar business, or it could also be helping people in need sacrificing your own interest.
Grit gets you going even when all logic points you to the ground. Some people associate it with passion and perseverance. I feel it is beyond that. When mom and dad keep waking up for 3 days in a row by the baby’s bed when she is sick, it is grit at work. When an entrepreneur puts in 80 hours a week to launch his product when his friends are partying, it is grit at work. In both these cases the effort, self-control, perseverance are exercised with an end-state in mind: the kid’s recovery for mom and dad, and a successful product launch for the entrepreneur.
If you are high on grit, you would have what Elon Musk calls “high pain tolerance”. You would be able to do things that other people believe to be impossible.
Let me end with a story of an artist named PK Mahanandia. He traveled from India to Sweden on a bicycle through the hippie-route (via Afghanistan, Iran, Istanbul to Europe) to meet his love, Charlotte, a Swedish lady who happened to meet him in Delhi during her visit to India. PK drew her portrait and they fell in love. You can read their story covered in BBC here. I would like to mention a quote by PK here. The parallels are obvious.
“I did what I had to, I had no money but I had to meet her. I was cycling for love but never loved cycling. It’s simple.” – PK Mahanandia