“It is generally accepted that toughness and perseverance are fundamental prerequisites for success. Life is hard and adversity is inevitable; you have to be able to overcome the obstacles in front of you, whatever they may be, in order to achieve your goals. The word “grit” has gained tremendous traction in this context, especially in the world of education. One of the most prominent researchers on the subject, Angela Duckworth — who literally wrote the book on grit — defined grit as: “… passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
As Duckworth noted in the same speech, grit is the single most significant predictor of success, more so than talent or intelligence. Most professional fighters would probably agree. Fighters are lauded for their toughness, for “embracing the grind.” The weeks spent preparing for a fight, as well as the minutes spent actually fighting, are among the most physically and psychologically grueling contrivances in modern sport. Anything short of a quick knockout requires a type of determination that is alien to most of us in the audience.
Yet unconditional grit can be a flawed virtue. Sometimes a challenge is not worth the effort, or simply impossible to overcome. In such cases, it’s in a person’s best interest to give up. A recent study led by researchers from University of Southern California and Northeastern University put hundreds of people through various tests of grit. In light of UFC 224, the findings were discomfortingly on-the-nose…”