Call it tenacity. Call it perseverance. Call it determination, stick-to-it-ness, not giving up.
Hell, some even call it foolish behavior – that is until you succeed and then they call it brilliance.
We call it grit.
It’s the quality that helps each and every one of us makes it through the hard times in pursuit of a goal, a next level, a better life.
And it’s the quality that we often admire most in our heroes: that they never gave up. When the going got tough, they dug in, got creative, tried something new, and broke through despite the odds.
And you can argue that the times have changed, but grit is also a quality that feels – or at least used to feel – authentically American. We love the story of the underdog that won against all odds.
Think about it. We love these stories.They feel as American as apple pie. It’s a core part of our identity as Americans and our belief in the ever debated concept of the American Dream.
We celebrate these stories and ideas in film constantly – Rudy, Rocky, The Miracle, SeaBiscuit, the list goes on. And even more movies (and a whole lot of Oscar winners) that chronicle similar stories of tenacious and relentless believers – Jobs, Braveheart, The Pianist, The Pursuit of Happyness, Erin Brockovich, even Legally Blonde!
These stories inspire us to greatness. They remind us that even the greats in this world struggle, but it’s their refusal to let up, to slow down, or to quit that makes them a success. Sure, maybe they have some talent, but what makes them truly unique is their grit.
We seem to be ever more steeped in these stories of hope and faith and inspiration, but there are signs that as a culture, we are growing less gritty over time. There is significant research that shows that today’s American students are less resilient than previous generations. The experts (and the peanut gallery) are still debating the cause of this decline in tenacity with fingers being pointed in the general directions of helicopter parents, participation awards, and social media.
But that’s not my worry.
Because it’s not too late – not for any of us.
It’s never too late to find your own grit and sharpen that skill like you would any other. I know it can seem daunting or even impossible, but I promise it’s not. And that’s what we’re going to show you.
And no, we don’t have it all figured out ourselves. Grittiness is a practice for us too. And though there is starting to be more content, more advice, more guidance on how to get tough and persevere, there still isn’t much.
In our experience, most of us learn grit by stumbling onto it ourselves, testing to determine what works and what doesn’t.
No one goes to school to learn grit. Maybe your parents instilled it in you, but most of ours didn’t. I know I was a thoroughly ungritty kid. A lot of things came naturally to me, so I simply avoided anything that didn’t. As a result, I was lazy, undisciplined, and unfocused.
I learned grit in 2 ways.
- Through physical fitness. I was a drama geek and a book nerd. I was not an athlete. But in my 20s I discovered a love of lifting heavy things and it was hard. Like really really hard. But working with a coach (who is now my partner in the Field Guide to Grit!), sticking to a plan and showing up 5 days a week no matter what made me way tougher.
- Through a variety of health struggles. I’ve got a genetic, degenerative, neurological disease called CMT, an auto-immune thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s, and I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, a tick-borne bacterial infection. And the only way I can feel healthy is through consistent effort and hard work.
But our goal here is to give you the insight you need to get on the right path toward find your own version of grit and summoning its power to get you through the hard times and onto the path of success, opportunity, and yes, even happiness.
To better understand how grit works, how un-gritty people get gritty, and how you can get gritty too, we’re talking to the toughest, grittiest, most resilient people we know to understand how they summon their courage, strength, and relentlessness when things get hard.
- How they get moving again when they feel stuck.
- How they know what step to take first (and how to take it even when they don’t really know at all).
- Who they rely on to give them support, advice, and inspiration during the tough times.
- What tools, processes, and frameworks they use to keep on trucking.
- How they form habits that make grittiness a default instead of a constant active choice.
- When and how they discovered their “why,” their motivating force, the fuel to their fire.
- Where they seek knowledge, education, and yes, more inspiration.
Join us. Join the movement. Get gritty. Accomplish things you never thought possible.
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