Overlook Anthology, Room 400: Grit

Today, I saw the TEDTalk of Angela Duckworth and her theory that “Grit” is a trait that trumps talent in terms of success. Similar ideas have been said before: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” “Practice makes perfect.” Which raises the question: what percentage of practice makes perfect? Because apparently percentages are important to this topic.

Back to Grit. Duckworth and her colleagues define Grit as “perseverance and passion for long term goals.” Ugh. Those “p words” are two on a list that are beginning to irk me: perseverance, passion, prioritization, determination, ambition, hard work, things-not-in-my-nature, drive, follow-through, etc. It’s weird that I have such an adverse reaction to seemingly positive terms. I’m not a slacker in the least (unless you judge me strictly by the time between blog posts, then well). I have a good work ethic…at work. They pay me. They expect my work to be done well and so I get it done well. I am Gritty-For-Hire. But those above words have such a negative connotation for me because of the pressure they bring. I have to be those things in order to achieve my personal goals. That’s the Law Of Success, right? If not, then I suck, right? It’s frustrating since I a) put my personal creative stuff last, b) want it to be perfect immediately and c) don’t want it rejected. Tall order for even the grittiest among us. Couple that with my long, winding road of interests and thoughts and ideas (and fears!), and you get someone that you wouldn’t call “single goal oriented”. I have lots of ideas. Too many sometimes to know where to begin. So maybe I wasn’t born gritless. Maybe my grit gets confused on what to grab onto. It’s clear-cut at work; at home, not so much.

But I like the term Grit. It’s a little word. Like you don’t need to dwell on it. Or break your brain. Or change your whole way of being. It feels obtainable. But can one hone their Grit? Or expand their Grit? In the TEDTalk, Duckworth didn’t know if one can learn it. Which is good, in a way. Now I don’t have any Grit blueprint that I have to follow correctly. I can just grab a bit of grit each day. Oh. “Grab a Grain of Grit.”  (I see t-shirts, magnets, coffee mugs…where was I?) There’s freedom in knowing that I can’t go anywhere but grittier.

Now if only I wasn’t left with the unsatisfied feeling of not being able to fit a “Kiss my grits” reference in here…

Amenities of Room 400: Grits with Butter. Cheddar Cheese Grits. Instant Grits.



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