GRIT: Got it? Want it?

GRIT and Your Dreams

Last week I wrote about GRIT, what it is and how important it is to cultivate it, if you are serious about your success in life. Simply put, developing GRIT is about pushing yourself a bit further, each difficult time, to see what you are made of. You need to know that failure is absolutely a part of developing GRIT, so you may as well  make nice with failure 🙂


Hello failure!

I think you have something to teach me.

Glad to meet you!

If you just lean into difficulty, roll up your sleeves, get ready for the battle; you can learn what you are made of, how strong you are, and voila!,  you are one step closer to developing your amazing ability to persevere. To know that you will survive, triumph, get through anything; is to know your own power, to live life on your terms.

Shall we learn how to “lean in”and

become grittier?!?

Brain Nerd

…and the Psych-Nerd is in da house! 

…now that was weird and nerdy…

10 GRIT Building Necessities

Cool research by the team of  Dr. Dennis Charney (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City) and Dr. Steven Southwark (the Yale School of Medicine) has produced some interesting, and very helpful, results.

They interviewed people that have experienced extreme and traumatic life situations and they were curious as to why some people are more resilient than others in the face of difficulty. Their work involved speaking with people, including U.S. special forces soldiers and Pakistani earthquake victims, who coped well with a variety of incredibly stressful life experiences. The pair identified 10 factors that allow the most resilient among us to keep going despite incredibly trying times. They are:

  1. Facing fear: actively using coping strategies and not running away. Seeing fear as a learning opportunity that fosters personal empowerment.
  2. Having a moral compass: having a sense of what is right and wrong, personal ethics, and acting according to these beliefs, even when it is hard to do so.
  3. Drawing on faith: having a belief that there is something larger than you in this world, whether it be religious, spiritual or a connection to other people. A sense that you are not alone.
  4. Using social support: avoiding isolation and making a strong effort to be around other supportive people. Relational connections are important in healing.
  5. Having good role models: looking for people around you who have endured and flourished despite difficulty. How did they do it?
  6. Being physically fit: research is showing, again and again, that exercise is an outstanding way to combat anxiety and depression. Again, Nike has it right…”Just Do It”.
  7. Making sure your brain is challenged: take a class, learn something new, try something outside your comfort zone, meet new people…anything that allows you to keep learning. Check out the words of wisdom from my awesome colleague, Kim Hill, in a previous blog post: Try Something NEW?!?! Terrified? Growth Requires Expanding Your Comfort Zone
  8. Having “cognitive and emotional flexibility”: check out my previous blog post on Psychological Flexibility.
  9. Having “meaning, purpose and growth” in life: finding meaning in tragedy seems odd, I know, but finding meaning does not mean to say that it was a positive experience but rather to accept that it happened. The meaning comes in noticing what the difficulty has it taught you about your strength and resilience. For you psych-nerds who want to read more, check this out: Lessons of Loss.
  10. “Realistic” optimism: being positive and realistic at the same time. Action For Happiness has a great resource on how to balance both: Be Positive but Stay Realistic.

I have chosen to write this blog today as this is the 13th anniversary of the passing of my first husband Robert. Losing him, taught me so much about my ability to cope, to persevere, to let go of what does not matter and to maintain a focus on gratitude. I am very grateful that Robert was my husband for 10 years, and I am immensely grateful that I was brave enough to rebuild my life after. I am living a full and cherished life with, my now amazing husband, Robin, and my incredible step-son, Jack <3.


Even the biggest failure beats the hell out of never trying.


Dr. Heather Drummond,  C.Psych.

Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through


Adapted from:  You Can Train Yourself to Have More Grit by Jessica Stillman 


  1. Heather, you inspire me!
    I’m amazed by your perseverance and grit to rebuild your life. Good for you 🙂
    I’ve been realizing that I do have grit, or else I wouldn’t be where I am in life because I chose to keep pushing myself and not give up and education has made a huge impact in my life for the best.
    Thank you for sharing that last part, made
    me tear up a bit as well.
    *ps -I always look forward to the psych nerd part of your blogs, I know I have an inner psych nerd cuz I totally understand the psych lingo lol.

Leave a Reply