Psychological Skills Training for GRIT

It is a combination of passion, perseverance, and stamina that makes high achievers special. This combination of traits is what has been defined as Grit (1). Grit is more about stamina than intensity.

The psychology of success has been growing exponentially over the last few years, and we now have the right frameworks and knowledge to help you develop grit. Through our research, we have discovered that there are many similarities in the profiles of high achievers, but there are also many differences. Successful people, “..can be introverted, extroverted, hardy, or neurotic, but all of them are committed to following their dream to excel.”(2)

At Eliana Cohen Psychology, we have validated tests to assess your passion and perseverance, as well as the tools to help you build up the different areas. We assess interest, your knowledge of deliberate practice, purpose, and hope.

Positive Response Outcome Expectation (PROE):

PROE is a concept that originates from Ursin and Ericksen’s theory of Cognitive Activation of Stress (3). They argued that PROE was a determining factor in how the person would face challenges and setbacks, and how much these factors would interfere with performance. Having a sense of self-efficacy is essential to performance, and often, a lack of confidence can lead to performance breakdowns. It seems counterintuitive, but the reality is that high achievers often have a very fragile belief in themselves and their self-confidence. One bad practice, or a comment from a person in authority, can easily affect the person’s ability to perform during their next challenge. Some of the work that we do at Eliana Cohen Psychology is therefore targeted at building self-efficacy, managing self-doubt, and working with the social support system.

Psychological Skills Training: Memorization, Refocus, and the Rules of Improvisation, Positive Self-Talk, and Visualization

Finally, A fun example of grit can be found in the biography of Winston Churchill. We think of him as the first performance psychologist, as he developed a method for himself to deliver the perfect speech. He worked arduously on all those areas, practice, memorization, and improvisation.

The science of performance has developed specific knowledge to assist you in each of these areas of memorization, refocus, and improvisation (4).

Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a term that was developed by Daniel Goleman (5)(6). It refers to how well we handle ourselves and our relationships, and at Eliana Cohen Psychology, we focus on four different areas of understanding and training your emotional intelligence.

  • Self-awareness is knowing what we are feeling and why we are feeling it, which is the basis of intuition and moral thinking.
  • Self-management is using emotions to understand yourself, and managing or creating positive emotions.
  • Empathy is knowing what others are feeling.
  • Putting all of these feelings together to promote positive relationships

Self-awareness and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand, but are different concepts requiring different types of training. Self-awareness is typically enhanced with talk therapy and mindfulness training. While emotional intelligence has a different training path than self-awareness, both aspects complement each other. Please follow us on social media for more information on the effects of mindfulness in changing the brain’s ability to focus and be in the moment, and contact Eliana Cohen Psychology in Toronto to schedule an appointment.


  1. Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit the power of passion and perseverance. Toronto: Collins.
  2. Pensgaard, A.M. (2012). In Aoyagi, M.W. & Poczwardowski, A. (Eds) In Expert approaches to sport psychology (pp. 185-200). West-Virginia University: Fitness Information Technology.
  3. Ursin, H. & Erikson, H. R. (2004). The cognitive activation theory of stress. Psychoneuroendocrenology, 29, 567-592. In Expert approaches to sport psychology (pp. 185-200). West-Virginia University: Fitness Information Technology.
  4. Hays, K.F. (2009) Mental attributes for peak performance. In Hays, K.F. (Ed) Performance psychology in action. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
  5. Goleman, D., Boyatzis R., Mckee, A. (2002). Primal leadership: realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  6. Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional Intelligence: 10th anniversary edition: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Random House Publishing.