Grit is not a term you hear used often…unless you are from the South…and then it is plural, not singular. Grit is a bit of an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Nobody really knows what it is, but a few have attempted to define it.
I was listening recently to a lady on TED Talks. She was talking about a study that was done to predict success. It wasn’t intelligence, high test scores, or socio-economic indicators that mattered in the end. It was grit. She defined grit as the passionate pursuit of your goal with unwavering determination and perseverance. I am paraphrasing her words, but that is close. Grit, in her estimation, was the differentiating factor in determining success.
The problem then is twofold:
- How do you identify grit?
- How do you encourage people to have grit?
She did not have a clear answer for this. She posed the problem and only offered a partial solution. She suggested that kids be taught that mistakes are not permanent, but part of a process and that the brain will grow through it all. If kids understand that, they will be more likely to accept it. I understand her point, but some mistakes are not so easily brushed aside and the fallout could take a lifetime to rectify…if it is rectified at all.
So what is my point? I do believe in grit and grits. I believe that there is great wisdom in learning to persevere through pain, sorrow, and whatever life may throw at you in order for you to finally attain your goal and experience for yourself what it feels like to win. I do believe that the bigger the odds against you…the greater the satisfaction in winning. That is true grit. That is something that everyone should pursue. That is something that nobody can take from you once you have tasted it. Success is sweet. Teach people what it feels like to win and they will not want to give it up.