I had it all wrong. (That is starting to be a theme in my year of self- examination…). I used to think that grit was just one thing and that someone with grit had only that to rely on. Like I said, I had it all wrong.
I have to come to realize that real grit is only something that you can observe over a long time of perseverance. It is watching a (or being the) person push a boulder (sometimes metaphorically, other times not) uphill without giving up as it slides with full force back on their shoulders over and over again. It’s watching that happen when it’s raining, and when the sun is shining and when it “wasn’t supposed to be like this”. I thought this was something done only by the unshaken; that people like that never tired, or gave up faith or had any doubt that they would, indeed, eventually and against all odds get that mother-loving boulder up that hill. Surprise! I was wrong there too.
There are times that those gritty McGritsters lose faith. There are times when every muscle aches and their eyes are blurry and all the can think of is that this is total B.S. and why in the world did THEY get stuck doing this, and who’s idea was this whole thing anyway. Then, they keep going.
I have begun to believe it is not perfect people who can sustain this way. It is forward thinkers. It is the kind of person who never cared too much for finish lines anyway because they know that once you break through one, another has already been erected elsewhere and will patiently wait for them. Grit is having a million reasons to quit or have a temper tantrum or say something mean and nasty to push people away and deciding to get quiet and not do something that stupid. Grit is being exhausted and afraid and uncertain and messy and harnessing those things into something productive. It is using all of the knowledge that they have acquired in life heading many steps and spending many dollars in the wrong direction and believing that if they have learned from it, then it still served a purpose.
I strive to become grittier as I pick up the lessons around me and I have shining role models to learn from and ask for mentorship from. It is very easy for me to get stuck – and even easier for me to stay stuck – I have had a lot of practice – far too much really at both. However, I am slowly and steadfastly digging my heels in and pressing my shoulder to my own unmoving boulder (every boulder is different, it could be weight loss, or finding a career, or working on yourself, this is a choose-your-own-boulder-adventure!) with a fierceness somewhat newly attained. I am learning that often times you don’t necessarily start out with grit – it gets pulled into the momentum you have worked for and gained.