It can be about sticking with a task, operating in a zone of stretch, figuring out a way to stay engaged with a challenge that’s not easy to complete, or seeing the long view on the struggles we find ourselves in. Notice that none of that is about how much or how little we’ve done.
Grit doesn’t measure volume of work completed. It’s an attitude toward our work, a response in the face of challenge.
Yes, grit is taking the marathoner’s mindset over the sprinter’s. But any distance runner will tell you that success results from a long series of decisions to keep going, through the pain, toward the end goal.
So when we ask our students to demonstrate grit, we can’t simply ask them to do more problems or write longer papers. We’re asking them to take the longer view, to see the end result, and to value this step–no matter how insignificant it might seem at the moment–as important because it’s helping them inch closer to that end goal.