Monday, November 7, 2011


Recently I was told that "a person has to have a certain grit" to be successful here. At the time I wondered if she was questioning whether I had that grit, and whether she might be right to ask that question. Tonight, I'm forced to wonder where the drive, fortitude, or grit to get "one more" comes from. Is it born inside us, or do we learn it over time? What is grit really?

I expect the answer to the second question is easier to handle. To find a man that is the portrait of grit, we don't have to look much further than a L'Amour or McMurtry novel and you'll find the Webster's definition of tough. Men and women with grit are all over the silver screen, and there is even a segment of psychology devoted to defining grit (google grit psychology). According to Wikipedia grit is defined as "a positive, non-cognitive trait, based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or endstate coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lay within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization." After reading this definition several times the point that becomes obvious is, in order for a person to have grit they must have a goal. After some thought this point makes perfect sense; when is the last time you saw a pan-handler and thought "boy, that guy must be tough?"

Grit.. It is a word that most every one would like to use to describe themselves. I believe, though, that using the word in any analysis of yourself would be worse than arrogant. Grit has to be used to describe you when your not listening, and to my mind their could not be a  more flattering way for some one to think of you. I suppose the only way to achieve this in another's eye is to be the hardest working son-of-bitch around for an awful long time. You are going to have to deal with failure with a resilience not displayed by common people. You are going to have to handle pain like it didn't hurt. You are going to have to possess a rare passion.

Even if a person does not have grit I would expect the quest for it would be a gritty goal.      

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