Home » Blog » How Gritty Are You?

How Gritty Are You?

January 07, 2019

Hello my dear Esteemed Reader. Happy New Year 2019 to you and yours!


I am truly grateful that you and I are still here this year. It may look like it is just a normal thing but from some of the news I got towards the last few hours of 2018, I just cannot take being alive today for granted. I am also grateful that we have been given another opportunity to do what for one reason or another, we may have failed to accomplish last year.


Speaking of accomplishments, none of them will come around unless we decide to make them happen. Yes, you and I (may) have set goals and made plans to achieve certain goals in 2019, but unless we determine to make them happen, they will not happen at all. We need to activate a component in us called “Grit”.


What is grit? According to my usual online dictionary, grit means having courage and resolve; i.e. strength of character. A gritty person is someone who does not give up no matter what happens. A gritty person is ready and willing to do what is necessary in order to achieve a desired outcome. A gritty person may feel tired and frustrated by the things that happen or don't, but quitting is never an option for them.


You may have talent, but if you don’t have grit, then your talent will not stand the test of time. You may be smart and very intelligent having straight “As” in all your exams from nursery school to your PHD, but if you are not gritty, you will never go far. Without grit, your intelligence and smartness will eventually succumb to the pressures life will subject you to. Grit is what will distinguish you from the rest.


When speaking of grit, I am reminded of Nick Vujicic, the gentleman who was born without hands and legs. I read his book towards the end of last year and believe me, though he discourages people from comparing challenges and sufferings, that book made me realize that everything I have gone through in my life is child’s play compared to what he has gone through in his. But what made him who he is today, a limbless man who has a wife and four children, plus a net worth of over USD  500,000? To quote Nick himself, this is what he says, “Sometimes you may feel like you are just about to realize your goal only to fall short. That is no reason to quit. Defeat happens only to those who refuse to try again.” He also said something else that is quite profound, “If I fail, I try again and again and again.” Now that is an attitude that can only be explained using one word: GRIT.


What makes Nick Vujicic and people like him (those who don’t give up) gritty? Here are a few characteristics:

  • Courage: this means the ability to do something that frightens one. It could also mean the strength to face pain or grief. Nick epitomizes both examples. In one of the chapters in the book, he shared an incident where he challenged the most feared school bully into a physical fight. Now that takes courage. Overcoming his physical limitations is another example of pure courage.


  • Endurance: this is the ability to suffer something painful or difficult patiently without giving up. You just have to look at Nick to know he has endured a lot to be where he is.


  • Perseverancethis is the ability to continue doing something despite experiencing difficulty or delays along the way. Ask any successful business person, they will tell you they have persevered enough to get to where they are today. Nick also persevered a lot to get to where he is today.  


  • Resiliencethis is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. A resilient person does not waste time wallowing in self-pity especially after failure. Instead, they look for the most creative way of moving on. This leads us to the next characteristic of a gritty person.​


  • Creativitythis is the ability to use the power of imagination or ideation to create something. Creativity is a characteristic that highly compliments perseverance. To persevere, one must be ready to come up with as many options as possible in order to reach a desired objective.  


 From the list above,  it is quite clear that a gritty person is someone who simply does not allow failure to put him down. Yes he may fail, but he never stays down for long no matter how many times he fails. The word “quit” is non-existent in his dictionary. Instead, he has grit.


Grit has been explained in deep details in my first read of this year called GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In this book, psychologist Angela Duckworth proves that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence whose end product she calls “grit”.


Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.


Among GRIT’smost valuable insights are the following:

  1. Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
  2. How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
  3. How lifelong interest is triggered
  4. How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much is ecstasy
  5. Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards?
  6. The magic of the Hard Thing Rule


As with last year, this year I am running another 52 Books In 52 Weeks book reading challenge under the hashtag #Lhw52BooksIn52Weeks2019. Naturally, the debut book for this year is GRIT. A soft copy can be found on the online reading club I have started that is currently hosted on Telegram. If you would like to join the reading group, feel free to click here.


As I started by saying, I know we all have goals (or resolutions) for this year. To realize them, we will need every iota of GRIT we can get.  


I leave you with a quote from my first book of the year GRIT: I won’t just have a job; I’ll have a calling. I’ll challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the GRITTIEST. 


I wish you nothing but GRIT in all the remaining days of the year.


Be ignited. Be inspired. Be influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 6th January 2019, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".​





Add comment

Share This Post