Recently, I’ve been learning about grit. It’s a value that is not often spoken about. And at this point, you might be wondering, “What is grit?” Instead of providing an intellectual answer, I thought that grit would be better described with three short stories.
Stories of Grit
Below, you will find stories about the value of pushing through adversity. As we will see, grit is a skill that is incredibly important in leadership and everyday life.
Grit and Running
Today, I saw a simple example of the power of grit while on my morning jog. Jogging is not my favorite activity, and I have difficulty staying consistent. Fortunately, Addison–my fourteen-month-old daughter–keeps me on-track.
Addison toddled to our door after breakfast and repeated, “go by-by,” until I finally gave in. This Addison’s way of reminding me that it’s time for our run. So I buckled her in our jogging stroller, and the two of us set off.
Early into our routine, I was passed by a much younger and faster runner. I reminded myself that he wasn’t pushing a baby stroller–because that had to be what was slowing me down 🙂
Addison and I came to a hill. We continued pressing forward.
Then, I looked up…
About a hundred feet in front of me was that speedy jogger. The same one who had blown by Addison and me a few minutes earlier. He had run out of steam, and I was quickly gaining ground!
Addison and I picked up our pace. I’m going to catch this guy, I thought to myself. However, just before Addison and I could overtake him, this speedy jogger began running again.
I wondered how the scenario would play out.
- Would this speedy runner get tired and take another break?
- Would Addison and I catch him a second time?
- Could this become a real-life story of the Tortoise and the Hair?
Unfortunately, we will never know. The jogger turned down a different road, and our race was over. My guess is that he didn’t want to compete with this slow, steady, and gritty dad.
[Tweet, “A gritty runner, keeps pressing forward, and discovers that slow and steady wins the race.”]
Grit in Math
I was introduced to the concept of grit in my children’s classroom. Their school has adopted the theme, “A year of grit.” The theme comes in response to the introduction of Common Core Math. The Common Core method forces students to think about numbers differently. In class, students,
- Write about the numbers.
- Discuss numbers, and
- Approach math differently than the traditional method learned by most adults.
Some parents love it. Others hate it. Yet, this post is not about Common Core. It’s about grit. The bottom line is that for my kiddo’s, Common Core Math is here to stay. Thus, like it or not, they need to learn it.
The year of grit theme is all about pushing through the frustration and sticking with it. Because gritty students will eventually learn this new way of thinking about numbers.
Grit in Writing
This week, I received an e-mail from a friend that made me smile. He talked about how he imagined building a blogging audience as being much easier than it is. I smile because, a year ago, I thought the same thing myself.
Writing is hard work. Connecting with others is even more challenging. Yet, I’m discovering that I can bond with others in a meaningful way through persistence and hard work. The truth is, most blogs are built through grit–one post at a time, and one connection at a time.
The Bottom Line about Grit
[Tweet “The bottom line is that hard is normal.”] Running, learning new ways of doing math, and writing are all hard work. I suppose that there are a select few who do these things naturally. However, for the average person, success is built through grit.
- Gritty runners finish the race by putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again.
- Gritty students complete their work one problem at a time.
- Gritty authors grind out their masterpieces. They complete one sentence and then another until the work is complete.
The Bible has much to say about grit too. Hebrews 11 is referred to as “The Hall of Faith.” Yet, if you read through this passage, you’ll notice an underlying theme of grittiness too. Hebrews 11 is a tribute to Christ-followers who refused to give up. It is a chapter about pushing through adversity with a tenacious faith that keeps trusting God, no matter what.
Research on Grit
Below, you will find an excellent Ted Talk on the value of grit. As you will see, there is much research left to be done. Nevertheless, the limited knowledge we have shows that grit matters. [Tweet “Gritty leaders–who press forward in adversity–often surpass those with talent alone.”]
In the next post, we will dive into practical applications for integrating grit into our everyday life. We will also examine specific strategies for nurturing this quality in our kids. For now, I would love it if you would join in the conversation by sharing times when you showed grit by pushing through the adversity and came out better for it. I can’t wait to hear your stories of grittiness and success!