For the past 3 weeks I was on study break for midterms and today I just finished them. The toil and tears that I’ve experienced has led me to push myself to the most dire of circumstances: I was ready to give up but my grit pushed me back onto my feet: while my motivation/willpower was dying my grit was thriving. And here’s what led me to survive and thrive when I knew that I was faltering
Before I start I wanted to share with you a quote from Grey’s Anatomy with the bible:
In the course of one day, Job received four messages, each with separate news that his livestock, servants, and ten children had all died. He continued to be a faithful servant. He still prays to God. He persevered. Job’s faith was tested and he passed the test. And for his faith God rewarded Job with twice what he had before. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” That’s what Jesus said on the cross before he died. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Job asked the question, too. But he kept the faith.
Likewise my story began with:
In the course of 3 weeks, I experienced the following, each obstacle that took a part of my well being in a different direction: Rumours (vicious lies) from ex surfaced and caused people to harass me, witnessing my mother and step dad fight (both emotional and physical), competition with other pre meds who be-little me, professors and instructors who humiliate me, 2 nights straight of all nighters to study and practice for hard exams, the constant loneliness and social isolation that makes me feel inhuman, and my chronic (permanent) bipolar that really takes a toll on my mood and motivation. I asked God, why me? I’ve been a faithful good Christian who always turned the other cheek and took the high road, so why bombard me with so much hardship? But I just kept on going because although that life seemed dire and painful, I made a promise to NEVER GIVE UP BECAUSE ONE DAY WHEN I START WORKING IN A HOSPITAL, I CANNOT GIVE UP JUST BECAUSE LIFE IS BEING UNBEARABLE. I will kept my promise and I am very glad that I did. And here’s why
What is Grit?
Angela Duckworth, a teacher and researcher, defines Grit as “the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. [It] equips individuals to pursue especially challenging aims over years and even decades.” Even in the face of adversity and failure being persistent is what drives gritty people forward.
Personally, I knew that I was facing very tough material and very tough people who were overally assertive and egotistical (mainly the rattled professors/instructors and toxic pre-med students). I knew what I was getting into: 4 lecture classes with 3 labs (that’s a total of 8 classes/labs) with the extra baggae of emotional turmoil (add in the crawling depression, Not joking I really do feel hopeless at some points). But what made me realize that I was different from the other pre-med students was that although that life may be a little too abusive, I treat it as useful opportunity to learn. A hard but useful lesson that will serve to benefit me in the long run.
Now what is the biggest predictor of success? Who is successful and why? Is it talent or effort? Duckworth made simple formulas that relates talent and effort
Talent x Effort = Skill
Skill x Effort = Achievement
Now here’s where Grit comes into play. Grit is the sustained application of effort towards a long term goal. So gritty people, regardless of socioeconomic or other factors such as low IQ, mentally unstable or has mental health illnesses, can triumph talent. So it’s common for people to say “Wow, she’s smarter than me I could never match up” but it’s not that black and white. People who are gritty set themselves apart even if they have lower IQs. As long as they put in the effort they can achieve great things.
But one thing to note is that being gritty is super hard (trust me there are times where I just wanted to shut down and hibernate). There are temtpations that can lead you to quit or experiencing failure, but it is possible to grow our grit. Duckworth explains it in 4 pillars:
- Develop a fascination
- Strive to improve yourself each day
- Remind yourself of the greater purpose (your end goals)
- Adopt a growth mindset
- Know that each obstacle or circumstance is temporary and that feeling uncomfortable is normal. Use it to your advantage to push yourself forward toward your goals. The rewards at the end is very much worth it (trust me it is), so make sure that you remind yourself of the greater purpose. People who have higher levels of purpose correlated with higher levels of grit.
- “I will not be ashamed to say I know not.” You are a human being, you’re not supposed to know everything at once. Rome was not built in one day. Although it may make you feel bad that your instructor/professor is yelling at you or belittling you that you’re asking too many questions or don’t seem to know what’s going on, it is not your fault. In fact, you’re in the process of learning which is the goal at hand. We come here to learn, grow, and improve. So don’t be ashamed if you feel that you know very little compared to others. Strive to improve yourself each day.
- Now the converse, do not chastise others or make yourself seem superior when you know more than others. People are at different levels. Some have more experience in the field than others so it is not your place to judge them or make assumptions that they’re stupid. Again, everyone is at different levels. In fact, it is better to reflect/focus on yourself since gritty people are more focused on self improvement than focusing on what others are doing.
- Accept that you may not be able to control everything. Things can spiral out of control but that does not necessarily mean it is your fault. Instead, reflect on this experience and ask yourself how can I improve and better myself for a future situation that was similar to this one. Gritty people reflect on their strengths and weaknesses so it is a good idea to always take a step back and look at the situation as a whole. Adopt a growth mindset. Your abilities are not fixed and they can change you’re always changing.
- Strive to succeed and if you fail, the only direction to go is back up. I like to think that fail is an acronym for First Attempt In Learning and that failure is good at times. It makes your realize that no one is perfect and that it’s a sign of more opportunity for improvement. Self improvement is always a good thing. So be optimistic and take pride of the moment that you are in and be fascinated with the wonders of your world.
I hope this post helped you guys reflect on your current situation and I hope that you guys get more gritty! Grit is such an important trait to develop for very difficult situations that get you feeling uncomfortable (or make you feel that you’re about to have a mental breakdown). If you have any comments to add please do and remember to follow me! Ciao for now guys, stay flossy.