21 Feb Make America Grit Again
Dinner at our house is often unpredictable. It’s this daily dance we do of asking, “What do you want? I don’t know, what do you want?” We typically end up deciding with everyone answering this question, “What don’t you want?” That eliminates a lot of options and narrows it down enough to choose. Sometimes our son decides on his own. Last week he made a DiGiorno’s pizza and topped it with a Totino’s pizza. I’m not kidding, we had a pizza topped with a pizza. It might not have been predictable, but I didn’t have to decide or cook that night, so I count that as a victory in my book.
“Whatever happened to predictability?
The milk man, the paper boy, evening T.V
You miss your old familiar friends, but
waiting just around the bend.
Everywhere you look (everywhere you look)
There’s a heart (there’s a heart)
A hand to hold on to.
Everywhere you look (everywhere you look)
There’s a face, of somebody who needs you.
When you’re lost out there and you’re all alone
A light is waiting to carry you home
Everywhere you look.”
I grew up watching Full House, so I love that theme song. And it may be just as true today as it was way back then. Whatever happened to predictability? I mean, seriously…what happened to it?
The roller-coaster highs and lows of the news these days really does make me want to throw up. I guess we can still count on death and taxes, but what’s encouraging about that?
So, several years ago, as sort of political Dramamine, I created a “Blessings” folder on my computer. It currently has 1,399 amazing emails from family, friends, and colleagues. Each message is a true blessing to me. So far, 16 of those messages are from 2017! Although I gratefully respond to the senders when their emails are received, I intentionally file them away for future reference—on those days when I’m lost out there and all alone, they are the light that’s waiting to carry me home. Because even when you love what you do, and who you do it with, an extra dose of encouragement now and again reminds you of your true grit.
When you first look up the word grit, the prime definition will say: sand, gravel. That speaks to me. For without the abrasiveness of sand, the oyster cannot produce a pearl. Pearls in life are developed through this secondary definition of grit: the perseverance of effort to overcome challenges that lie within the path toward achievement. The concept of grit has been studied for hundreds of years, particularly with famous leaders in history, but also with other high-achieving individuals. What these researchers learned is quite fascinating.
Essentially, the best and brightest leaders all had ‘normal ability’, but the most successful and influential leaders had traits above and beyond this…they had John Wayne grit, true grit. While ability was highly important, the combination of ability with grit became a vital differentiator—this synergy of ability + grit is truly a gamechanger.
Those high achievers with true grit stayed the course, showing great stability, determined focus, and intense motivation despite adversity…because their passion for the ultimate goal was that important.
Our donors show true grit when building an endowment at the Community Foundation. Endowments are forever giving funds that literally produce income for charitable purposes forever. It takes steadfast giving throughout the years for such a fund to reach its charitable goals–their pluck, spirit, and tenacity make their initial dream a reality. That’s the power of grit.
Such will be the case with our collective impact initiative, Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County. Our community isn’t altogether different than many others in Indiana. Each county has assets just like all those great leaders in history had abilities. So, we know that the great differentiator will be grit!
As it’s the week in which we celebrate President’s Day perhaps it’s appropriate to quote the father of our country, George Washington, “Patience is a noble virtue, and, when rightly exercised, does not fair of its reward.” This patience is derived from grit. No grit, no pearl. That, we know, is predictable. Perhaps we can make America grit again…starting right here in Grant County.