The anatomy of grit

PEDDLER OF HOPE - George Royeca - The Philippine Star

Last weekend, I delivered a commencement address to the 8th graders of Multiple Intelligence International School, celebrating their transition to high school. This momentous occasion got me thinking deeply about the concept of grit and how we can teach this to our youth. This trait has been instrumental in my own journey and one that I believe is crucial for anyone aiming to navigate life’s challenges successfully. In this article, I want to delve into the anatomy of grit and how you can cultivate it to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

Grit is often defined as a combination of passion and perseverance. It’s the drive that keeps you going despite setbacks and the determination to see your goals through to completion. In my experience as CEO of Angkas, the leading motorcycle ride-hailing company in the country, grit has been the backbone of our success. From government shutdowns to intense competition, every hurdle we faced was an opportunity to develop and grow.

The first element of grit is expecting problems and embracing stress. Life is inherently unpredictable, and challenges are a given. Instead of fearing them, you should anticipate and welcome them. When problems arise, the key is not to stress over their existence but to channel that stress into finding solutions. This proactive approach transforms stress from a paralyzing force into a motivating one.

For instance, Angkas faced multiple shutdowns by the government and Covid. Rather than succumbing to the stress, we viewed each shutdown as a chance to innovate and improve. We prepared for these challenges by constantly refining our strategies and staying resilient. This mindset of expecting problems and using stress constructively is something everyone can adopt. It’s about shifting your perspective from “Why is this happening to me?” to “How can I solve this?”

Another critical component of grit is treating setbacks like a video game. In gaming, failure is not the end; it’s a learning process. Each time you lose, you gain insights that help you progress further the next time. This analogy applies perfectly to real life. Embrace your failures and view them as opportunities to learn and grow. The faster you fail, the quicker you learn. At Angkas, every failure was a lesson. When our app imploded amidst fierce competition, we didn’t give up. Instead, we analyzed what went wrong, learned from our mistakes and built a stronger app with a dedicated in-house team. This “fail fast, fail quick” mentality has been crucial in our journey. By viewing setbacks as part of the learning process, you can maintain your motivation and keep pushing forward.

The final piece of the grit puzzle is leveraging technology to innovate and improve. We live in an era when technology can be a powerful ally in achieving our goals. It’s not a magic wand that solves all problems, but it’s a tool that can enhance your capabilities and help you scale your efforts. During our toughest times at Angkas, we turned to technology. Faced with limited resources and intense competition, we built a scalable app that could compete on a global level. This was only possible because we embraced technological innovation. Whether it’s for personal development, academic success or business growth, using technology smartly can give you a significant edge.

As I conveyed to the students during their commencement, high school and beyond will present numerous challenges. Developing grit early on will be essential in navigating these successfully. Start by setting realistic goals. Break down your long-term objectives into smaller, manageable milestones. This approach makes it easier to stay motivated and track your progress. Practice resilience by taking a step back when faced with setbacks, analyzing what went wrong and developing a new plan. Resilience is built through repeated exposure to challenges.

Cultivate a growth mindset. Believe that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset fosters a love for learning and resilience. Seek feedback from teachers, peers and mentors to improve your performance and develop new skills. Constructive criticism is invaluable. Stay curious and always be willing to learn and adapt. Curiosity drives innovation and helps you stay ahead in a rapidly changing world.

Maintain focus and effort over long periods, even when progress seems slow. This kind of persistence builds character and resilience, making you more capable of handling bigger challenges in the future.

Moreover, building a support system is crucial. Surround yourself with people who encourage and support your goals. Friends, family, mentors and teachers can provide valuable advice and encouragement when you face setbacks. They can offer different perspectives and solutions you might not have considered. Engaging with a supportive community helps you stay motivated and committed to your goals, reinforcing your grit.

Additionally, self-reflection is a powerful tool in cultivating grit. Regularly take time to reflect on your experiences, both successes and failures. Understand what worked well and what didn’t. Use these insights to adjust your strategies. Reflection helps you learn from your experiences and make informed decisions, improving your ability to persevere through challenges.

As I reflect on my journey and the lessons I’ve learned, I realize that grit is not just about perseverance. It’s about expecting challenges, embracing stress, learning from failures and leveraging technology to grow. These principles have been instrumental in my success and can be in yours too.

Remember, every problem is an opportunity in disguise, every failure a lesson and every technological tool a step towards greatness. I’d like to thank these young adults for making me reflect on my own failures, lessons and path to success. With that, all the best of luck in your endeavors!

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