Thanks to the folks at Brentwood College School on Vancouver Island, I have a new mantra that I am sharing with everyone I know, young and old: Grit & Joy. It is simple, direct and applicable to us all. Click here to see Brentwood’s motivating description of their core values: Grit & Joy!
Research Psychologist and “Grit expert”, Dr. Angela Duckworth defines Grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals”. It is that ‘stick-to-itiveness’ and ‘bounce-back-ability’ that we hope to foster in young people so that when they face challenges – academic, athletic, artistic and personal – they are able to persevere and reach their potential. We worry sometimes that ‘helicopter parents’ prevent their children from developing Grit, even though they know it is a quality needed by all to navigate the challenges of life. Character education programs are designed to make Grit integral to a school’s culture and Grit is a quality we look for in our leaders.
Once I started thinking about Grit, I saw it everywhere: in the faces of people of all ages confronting hardship in my community and around the world; in the voices of world leaders; in the determined eyes of students who go the extra mile to learn a new concept; and in the energy of teachers who are committed to their continued growth.
Funnily enough, although not necessarily intuitive, if you have Grit – you probably experience more Joy. Joy is that genuine feeling of being in the zone while pursuing your passion. We experience Joy when we’re fully engaged in an activity or an interaction with someone. Doing your best and going the extra mile (i.e. being gritty!) bring great Joy!
The questions I pose on a daily basis now – to myself and to those around me are:
- Where did you show Grit today?
- What gave you great Joy today?
I figure, if you find a way to have a little bit of both every day, you’re doing well.