Quittin' Time or Grittin' Time: Three Principles of "How to Grit"

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2024

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”  --Winston Churchill (1874-1965), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 

I’ve got great news for you. You already have everything you need to “grit” instead of “quit!” 

I’ve recently been sharing the difference between quittin’ time and grittin’ time. Sometimes quitting is the correct answer, as I talked about in my first blog on this subject. And sometimes grittin’, or staying in the fight, is the proper response, as I mentioned in my second blog on this subject. I want to talk about the subject one last time. I’d like to share the "how to" for grittin. For those who know it’s grittin’ time, there are some principles you can apply to keep pressing on.

If you’re like me, you like practical steps - methods that can be measured. Real results. Once I see something that needs to be done, I want to know exactly how to do it and what the next step is. 

I wish grittin’ were that easy. It is simple, but simple is not the same thing as easy. That’s why I began by telling you you already have everything you need to grit instead of quit. But a method for grittin’ requires applying principles rather than just taking steps. And yet, each principle does represent a straightforward action step: Choose to keep going and refuse to quit.

Here are three simple principles for grittin’.

Grittin’ is more choice than trait.

Many people confuse grit with a personality trait rather than a choice. It is easy to assume that some people are born with a tenacity that the rest of us do not have. And while I recognize that certain personalities are more prone to perseverance than others, grittin’ is about a choice. 

Albert Einstein once said, “It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer.”  People who refuse to give up adopt a long-term problem-solving and goal-realization perspective. They understand that tenacity is a tool, not a trait. Endurance is a choice, not a talent. In other words, refusing to quit is the way to achieve this. Their perspective is that I can only succeed if I keep going and fail if I quit now.

You have the choice to grit. Think about this. If you are facing challenging circumstances and want to give up, it will be a lot easier to do so if you believe that you are simply not designed with the noble stubbornness to be tenacious. But if you change your perspective and see tenacity as a choice rather than a trait, you can more easily choose to keep going. The more days you make that choice, the closer you get to solving problems and achieving goals. How do you apply this principle? You make a choice every day. Just. Don’t. Quit.

Grittin’ is more minute than massive.

The American self-help author Robert Collier wrote, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” A well-known adage says, “If it takes 1000 blows to knock a wall down, you cannot say that it was just the last one that knocked it down. It was also the 999 blows before the last one.”

When facing challenging assignments, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the size of the task. Often, the size of a huge goal can make us feel more fatigued. In these moments, this principle becomes crucial. Grittin’ happens one step at a time. One day at a time. One decision at a time. Grittin’ is more minute than massive.

You will accomplish big things in your life one small step at a time. Grasping this principle can help you endure the sense of failure in those first 999 blows until you see the results of that final blow that breaks the wall. You can only live your life one moment at a time. You cannot live out all of the rest of your days in one day. So you are only responsible for doing the next right thing now. Success in the future comes from accumulated and consistent perseverance. 

The first step toward results is usually to “embrace the process.” Remember, results come last. By the time others notice your results, you will have already been doing the things necessary to develop the results. This process is valid for weight loss, physical health, and developing a new skill like learning a language or playing an instrument. This is true for financial increase and business growth. And this is true for succeeding in challenging assignments. Refusing to quit can be just as simple as doing the next right thing.

How do you apply this principle? Take the next step. Make the next right move. Do the next right thing. Just. Don’t. Quit.

Grittin’ is more shift than static.

The amount of grit you have right now is not static. It is a variable. It can increase or decrease from day to day. In the same way that people mistakenly assume that grit is a personality trait, they also assume that how much grit they have is the same from one day to the next. But endurance and perseverance can fluctuate daily. And since they fluctuate, you can affect that variable. You can add grit. You can shift it each day.

Recognizing that you can affect your own “grit factor” should cause you to ask where the source of grit comes from. If you’re like me, you probably first thought, “How do I shift it?” But applying this principle first requires an adjustment in your perspective of where grit comes from. After all, if it is not merely a personality trait, where does grit come from?

Perhaps everybody will not find this insight earth-shaking. But some of you will. Are you ready? Grit comes from God! Remember when I discussed good reasons to quit and great reasons to grit? I started by encouraging you to consider whether you were sure about the will of God for your goals and directions. Being convinced about the will of God for your particular direction in life comes into play in this principle, too. If you know you are right where God put you and that you are doing what He has called and gifted you to do, then you can rest in the fact that He can and will give you the ability each day to keep going. Grit comes from God because success is ultimately up to God.

And how do you apply this principle? Once you see that the ability to keep going is a strength from God, the way to increase your grit factor becomes clear. Prayer and study of Scripture are tried and proven application steps to receive strength from God. Daily prayer and seeking God’s wisdom through His Word turn our hearts away from depending on our strength and cause us to depend on God - Who is the only one who can bring real success to our lives.

Dependence on God is how great people in history were able to continue moving forward despite failures, even when their fight seemed impossible to win. Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid leader, believed he was doing God’s will, so he could say, “It always seems impossible until it's done.” Harriet Beecher Stowe, the American abolitionist and author, was known for trusting God. She once said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you … never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” 

Every time you pray and read God’s Word, it is a way to grit and not quit. Trust God, and just don’t quit.

So, here are three principles of grit: First, know that grittin’ is your choice, not just a personality trait. Second, recognize the power of doing the next right thing because grittin’ is more minute than massive. And then, add to your grit factor by trusting in God, who is the source of strength and tenacity. Pray and seek God’s wisdom in His Word because grit is not static; it can be shifted.

Just. Don’t. Quit.


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