Grit. The best four-letter word.
Grit is mental toughness, it is what makes success. It’s not talent – not your naturally endowed intelligence nor or an innate physical strength – that decides if you will rise to the top. Instead, it’s whether you persevere, in the face of setbacks, laziness, negativity.
And what is perseverance if not a thousand tiny choices, made every day, all the days?
I get compliments often about my physical fitness. I appreciate these compliments, but not for the reason you might think. The compliments don’t titillate my vanity. No, the reason why I bask in their warmth is that they feel like an applause for the choice I make to exercise, four times a week, every week. Over and over, I make this choice, and the compliments feel like an acknowledgement of my triumph over temptation, of my tenacity in the face of wavering motivation.
What does this choice look like?
When the bed is cozy, the sheets are cocooning me, and the whole world is asleep, giving me a good reason to stay in bed.
When I’m tired from the day and the TV is waiting for me in anticipation of a blank, drained, passive canvas.
When it’s a beautiful holiday and the day invites me to spend it in any way I want.
These are the choices I don’t make. Putting on my workout clothes, rolling out the yoga mat, and sweating it out for a limit-testing 20 minutes are the choices I do make. They don’t get easier the more times I make them; I consciously have to commit to them every single time.
That’s my grit. Nothing glamorous, not even fun on most days. Not fun in the beginning, I should say. Soon enough, the choice to get physically active feels like a great one, the right one, as the happy hormones kick in, the muscles loosen up, and my body feels alive. The beauty of these thousand tiny choices, made repeatedly, is that they must yield results, inevitably.
Grit is learned. How wonderful is that? You don’t have to be born with it. You do have to choose to build it. You have to choose to choose. It’s possible for everyone, which is the most inspiring realization. And a bit daunting, I suppose, because the onus of lies on you, of reaching to the top, of achieving success however you define it, of realizing your dreams.
But, like all things in life, break it down. Life is a series of individual moments. Grit is a series of a thousand tiny choices. One at a time and soon you’re among the stars.
As a final note, I want to share a post that was written by someone I follow, James Clear. Reading it provoked the desire to write about grit on my own blog. He is far more eloquent and has thorough research too, which tells a superb story about the power of grit. I hope you’ll check it out. I enjoyed his post very much.