There’s a word that comes to mind today and it is “Grit”. Grit is the ability of a person to push through to some long term goal despite the circumstances around them. Think about some of these challenges in your own life and ask yourself if they were hard – or how hard they would seem if you had to go through them.
- The death of a family member or someone close to you.
- Losing your job and not having any money.
- Having a difficulty in your relationship or marriage.
- Having to let someone out of your life for a time, or for good.
- Getting physically hurt really bad.
- Being overwhelmed with a load of work and/or school.
- Being robbed or beat up.
- Being diagnosed with a terminal or serious illness/disease.
- Being dumped or let go by someone you love.
- Having an abusive parent or partner.
I’m sure there’s a host of other difficult challenges that happen in life, but these are a few that come to my mind that I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of others. What I’ve seen is that there are two key ways one can respond to these challenges. Let me go through each of these challenges and show the grit and no-grit way to approach them, each providing vastly different outcomes and long-term results. Grit is a decision each day regardless of how you feel.
I have to admit, I’ve realized that only recently I have Grit in some areas and lack of it in others. It’s something I thought I had – and indeed there have been things in the past where I’ve used Grit to produce and create some amazing things. But in other areas of my life, my Grit is just getting developed.
The death of a family member or someone close to you
Grit: It was sure awesome to be around Helen for the time she was here. She will be missed and remembered. I hope to live my life each day in a way that makes the most of it.
No-Grit: Poor Helen. Why did she have to die? Life is so cruel. Life is so short. We’re all going to die anyway, so what’s the point?
The grit here is to recognize Helen as a special person and miss her, but then focus on living each day with the best you have. Grit grieves for a time, but then moves on. The opposite is to wallow in sadness for the rest of your life.
Losing your job and not having any money
Grit: Sometimes you can’t control things. I’m going to go out and find something better and keep this train going :)
No-Grit: Damn, this sucks. Who ran this company into the ground? What am I going to do now? I’ll just wait for unemployment I guess…
The grit here is to recognize the truth – we can’t always control the things around us. But we can control what decision we make moving forward. The opposite is to blame others and become stagnant.
Having a Difficulty In Your Relationship or Marriage
Grit: Sometimes there are big differences between people. Maybe I did or didn’t do something in the best way. Let’s try and work these out and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll find a way to end it amicably and even remain friends afterward.
No-Grit: What did I do wrong? My life is over! I can’t live without this person being around me 24/7!
The grit here is to take the situation for what it is – life is dynamic and sometimes two people didn’t quite realize what was going to happen when they got together. And that’s OK – so long as the situation is handled with care and respect for each other looking toward a better future. Even better is to remain friends afterward if a split occurs. The opposite is to pity yourself and think your life is over.
Having to Let Someone Out of Your Life for a Time, or for Good
Grit: Sometimes you meet someone and the timing is way off. Either you are really busy, in another part of the world, or already committed to someone or something else. In other cases, a person could be verbally or physically abusive. Grit says that sometimes the timing isn’t right and it’s best to stay out of contact for now or for good. Grit resolves to set things right first and then welcome a return to having someone back in your life. Grit also says if the situation is really bad and abusive, then it needs to end.
No-Grit: No grit says that you can’t live without someone else. That you are attached and every thought you have is consumed by them. Beware, for the more you consume yourself with thoughts like that – in an attached and needy way, the more what you are thinking of will slip away between your fingers.
Getting Physically Hurt Real Bad
Grit: Sometimes in life, we are in the path of the tornado. This means that life just knocks us down and we get hurt. I remember my back surgery, kidney stone, and recent shoulder injury. The key is to look forward and not use the physical injury as an excuse in life. It’s ok to feel pain and even cry. But then action toward resolution is key.
No-Grit: It sucks to be me. My life is over without the use of this part of my body. The no grit philosophy is really easy to adopt with a severe physical injury. I know – I’ve had a few of them. But all it will do is serve to make your life miserable if you do so.
The grit here is to persevere through the pain and focus each day on your own life. Sometimes a serious injury can really sideline you. It then becomes a battle of mental toughness to get through. This one isn’t easy – physical ailments are difficult :)
Being overwhelmed with a load of work and/or school
Grit: I am going to get this thing done and nobody is going to stop me from accomplishing my goals at work or at school. I am going to succeed and I will make it happen – nobody will do it for me.
No-Grit: This is too much for me. I’m going to drop some classes and cut back my hours. Maybe I’ll even just quit.
The grit here is to make the choice each day to get everything done. Anyone who understands will get out of your way and let you do your thing. The opposite is to quit and not accomplish your work or school goals.
Being robbed or beat up
Grit: It’s not my fault this happened. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’ll take better precautions next time. They did this. It wasn’t me.
No-Grit: My life sucks. Why did this have to happen to me? I’m not going to go out of the house again.
The grit here is when someone does something to you or takes something from you, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to compromise your life and let it control you? Or will you keep moving forward?
Being diagnosed with a terminal or serious illness/disease
Grit: This is a really difficult challenge. I may not have long to live. But for each day I am able to live and breathe, I am going to give life my all.
No-Grit: This really sucks. My life is over. I have nothing left to give.
The approach here is very apparent. One makes the most of each moment regardless of the struggle. The other gives up on it.
Being dumped or let go by someone you live
Grit: I can’t control other people and their feelings. I wish this other person the best in their life. I’m even happy to be their friend in the case where we get along still.
No-Grit: I must be worthless. What did I do to make this person not love me? I can’t live without them. What am I going to do?
The grit here recognizes the situation for what it is – someone making a choice in their life. You can’t understand another person fully. They are just trying to live their life the best they can. The opposite is to feel like you aren’t a worthwhile person because of something someone else is doing.
Having an abusive parent or partner
Grit: This person has knocked me down enough. I’m not going to let them do it anymore. And when I am out of this, I forgive them because I don’t know the mind of others.
No-Grit: I’m so scared. What am I supposed to do? I need this person even though they are abusing me.
The grit here is recognizing the inherit wrong in the situation and getting out of it. It also means forgiving the other person so that they don’t have any control over your life. The opposite is to allow them to control you.
In the end, Grit is a choice. And sometimes it is damn hard to do, especially when the situation is new and fresh. But done day after day after day, it becomes easier and more of a habit. And then a few months pass and you wonder how you ever operated any differently.
This article is for those of you going through any kind of stress or tough time. I prefer to love and appreciate everyone going through challenges. I welcome good people in my life with open arms but don’t in the slightest wish to force anyone to do anything. Here’s to having some Grit today and moving forward!
- Live Free, Die Well
- The Need For Empathy
- The Limiting Belief That You’re Not Supposed to Have It
- Life Is So Short
- Poem – Love Them As They Are