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Here Are 5 Characteristics of Grit. How Many Do You Have? If you have them, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges life throws at you.

By Andrew Medal Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The definition of grit is courage and resolve or strength of character. It can also mean an indomitable and irrepressible spirit that doesn't back down in the face of failure or obstacles. Grit helped me overcome two years in prison and losing a loved one, and it propels me forward with every step being an entrepreneur.

Experts identify five characteristics of grit. If you have them, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges life throws at you. How do you stack up?

1. Stay strong in the face of pain, fear or grief.

People often underestimate just how courageous and resilient they can be. Every aspect of life requires a little bit of courage. A child needs the courage to face the first day of school, and a student needs the courage to step out into the world after graduation.

Related: The Top 7 Podcasts that Inspire Grit, Grind and Hustle

Similarly, entrepreneurs and business owners need the courage to take risks with their daily activities, to make investments and introduce new products and services. They have to overcome the fear of failure and find it in themselves to stand up if a failed venture knocks them off their feet.

2. Be meticulous, detail-oriented and careful.

Conscientiousness requires patience and commitment and is a significant characteristic of grit. People who are conscientious try their best to avoid mistakes and never jump hastily into commitments. While courage is the ability to make mistakes and face failure, conscientiousness is the capacity to work hard to avoid failures and errors in the first place.

You'll notice that people who possess true grit don't shy away from hard work. Conscientious people are also quite principled and won't take shortcuts if they have to compromise their values and ethics.

3. Stay confident, committed and optimistic.

It's easy to dismiss resilient individuals as stubborn. They stay on their path and are determined to succeed despite all odds. They're confident in their ability to make sacrifices, put in the effort and overcome failures to reach their goals.

Related: 11 Signs You Have the Grit Needed to Succeed

Entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals need to be resilient to survive in a cutthroat business environment. Resilience can help you withstand the pressure of competition and even enjoy the challenges it presents.

4. Be outstanding or extremely good.

People with grit will always strive to achieve excellence rather that focus on perfection. While perfection focuses on the result of your efforts, excellence is more concerned with how you get there. Excellence is a forgiving concept and only asks you to give your all to a particular task.

If you fail despite your best efforts, you'll learn from your mistakes and move on. If you succeed, you've achieved the best result possible. Think of excellence as progress vs. perfection. It's better to start and learn with a bad product, then to have never started at all.

Related: Why 'Grit' May Be Everything for Success

5. Stay put in difficult situations to achieve long-term goals.

You won't succeed in life if you don't remain on a path you've chosen, regardless of how difficult and challenging the road becomes. Most people find it difficult to keep up the hard work and want quick rewards. Long-term goals require time, patience, sacrifices and effort and you need to have the endurance to stay on the path.

All of these characteristics of grit will help you succeed in your personal and professional life. If you don't yet possess these characteristics, life will happen and you will either develop grit or live a life of helplessness. As John Ortberg explained: "Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness."

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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