The dictionary states the meaning of grit as courage and resolve or strength of character.
Grit is something that neither we spend much time thinking about nor it’s as popular as other topics like passion, willpower or vision. How many times you would have read a topic about Grit alone or even heard its reference in articles or discussions. According to me, Grit is the most underrated aspect spoken about and far far less important than any other human trait discussed.
By end of this blog, the perception of grit being most underrated is going to change. How you would view grit in your life would jump leaps and bound from where it stands today. You are about to find how gritty you are !!!
Lets do a visualising exercise. Visualise a parent ant who needs to feed his family. The family resides on top of a 30 foot tree branch. Typically 6-7 times of how tall you are. The parent ant walks all the way down the tree to fetch food. He finds a food particle to carry it back for the family. Often the size of the food particle is either heavy or proportionately bigger than the body size of the ant. While making the incline, there are times when either the food particle drops off or because of the weight and size the ant tires out. Can you visualise the ant giving up? Do you think this upheavel tough task makes the ant return home without food for the family? This is what we call Resilience.
Resilience is the foundation of Grit. It comes in pair and co-exist in equal capacity. Research says that resilient people are found to be more gritty and vice versa. Mental toughness is often a trait that is found in people with strong perseverance. Often people who possess resilience are the ones who can withstand turmoils in life and get back on their feet to continue their journeys. But how do they build this? Is it a talent that they are born with or a trait that they acquire over a period of time.
Lets deep dive into this. Each one of us have been through tough phases in our lives. It could be childhood bullying, competitiveness in education, landing the dream job, falling prey to office politics or relationship challenges. The intensity and degree of toughness could have varied from time to time. But most times any of these challenges that we would have managed to overcome would have primarily happened by taking the first step – Acceptance. The potential of resolving any conflict which affects our mental being begins with acceptance. In other words, it’s the stepping stone to build resilience.
Years ago I read a story of an athelete. Every athelete’s dream is to bring a Olympic medal home. This athlete trained for years – day and night and put in his best to debut in his 1st Olympic participation ever. The day arrives and its make or break for him. Today was not his day – he fails. Its alright he says to himself and trains with more dedication for the next 4 years. Another failure – he is far away from the podium finish. Its disheartening, but he pulls himself together. Another 4 years of hardwork. His 3rd Olympic participantion – Nail biting finish, very close to making it to the top 3 – but he loses out again. This is heartbreaking. Nevertheless, the very next day he is back to his training schedule and puts in every bit of blood and sweat yet again. 16 years have gone by and he has not made it. He started ripe at 20 and now he was 36. The day arrives. Its his day today – Not Bronze, Not Silver – He brings home the Gold this time !!!
His acceptance to his conflicts with defeat helped him build his resilience over years. Nothing tired him out. Not winning didn’t demotivate him. The podium finish he desired, didn’t fizzle out ever. That Resilience was not built overnight. Those innumerable attempts to make his dream come true were not made 4 times. They happened 365 * 4 times. Its not a talent that either you have or you don’t. It’s a trait that one can build over a period of time keeping in sight your goals and ambitions which feed your soul.
Grit on a parallel note is something that once resilience is built, it feeds on it and manifests success. Grit is addictive. Once you have it within your system, it changes your approach methodoly to tackle anything in life. In my experience, it’s the booster or energiser which keeps up your motivation level. Grit makes you stronger internally and programs your day to day functioning keeping optimism at its core. One common thing that you would find in every person who is gritty is that they never give up. While they have optimised themeselves with accepting things that come their way, they also aggresively pursue their goals until they achieve them. Being Gritty is being a go-getter.
Science says we are what we feed our bodies. I have an inherent belief that our life’s are what we feed our minds. Feed your mind strength and you would become courageous. Feed it with resilience and you would become gritty. The question that you need to ask yourself today is – Are you gritty enough? If you are, half the battle of your life is won. And if you are not – work on building your resilience – you will be surprised what life has in store for you !!!