What Does It Mean To Have GRIT?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

Do you see that material in between the tiles in your kitchen? That's grout, not grit.

Have you ever cleaned grout? That's grit. Sort of.


If you haven't already, watch this TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance?language=en. With an impressive 17 million views, I'm hoping our profession can help tip the scales closer to 18 million.


Let's go back to your kitchen tiles for a moment. Let's say you were given the task to clean the grout in between all of the tiles. You have little experience in this area and are most likely doing this for the first time. You're not sure what tools to use (steel wool? toothbrush?) and you're not sure what cleaning solution to use (dish soap? toothpaste?). You're worried how long this is going to take you. You're not sure you'll be successful. You're not sure what the finished product is going to look like. It's probably easier and faster to hire someone to do this. Other people have less tiles to clean and bigger muscles. You're not even sure what you're going to get out of this experience.


Grit is a mindset. Grit is a tool. Grit is followed by its friends, Resourceful and Hard-working. Grit gets noticed by others. Grit helps you figure things out without freaking out. Grit knows that hard doesn't mean can't. Grit surprises you. Grit gets you to the finish line without knowing all of the steps at the starting line. Grit is the dirt under your fingernails and the scars on your heart.


Grit doesn't give up when plans change. Grit is not blaming. Grit is not shaming. Grit doesn't boast. Grit doesn't succumb to the fatigue of failure. Grit doesn't push people down on the way up. Grit doesn't stop moving.


You will hear faculty and preceptors and future employers talk about grit. How it's needed but they can't find it in the younger generation. Here's your challenge: learn about it. Take the grittiness quiz. Interview your parents (they all have it BTW).


Remember a time when you didn't give up. Journal it here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDnsXcPGshII9LsAAEuev1OOwXeEn__4RHVnF6tIfbJJbBVg/viewform?usp=sf_link