Paul Tough suggests that the primary quality in successful people is grit. Loosely defined, grit is when one continues to persist faithfully in the face of failure. To continue to believe in oneself.
Steve Jobs dropped out of college to start Apple. He was essentially pushed out of Apple, only to return as their CEO and grow it to one of the most valuable companies in the world.
JK Rowling was rejected by 13 publishers before someone took a chance on her, going on to create Harry Potter, one of the most successful series of all times.
Clearly, these two possessed true grit throughout their careers. And throughout their failures. They believed in their strengths, value, and uniqueness and kept on. They “persisted faithfully”.
Faith, for me, has always been faith in God. Faith in my higher power. When I’m going through a tough spot or dealing with a crisis, I would remind myself that my higher power didn’t put me on this earth to fail. If I just maintained faith in God then it would all work out.
I would repeat the FEAR mantra: False Evidence Appearing Real. I would tell myself that the hard, uncomfortable feelings shall pass and I would soon be able to get on in my life.
Well, I have had a bit of an epiphany. My perception has shifted. Rather than simply focusing on faith in God, in a higher power, I’m focusing on faith that my God has faith in me/us.
This seemingly minor edit has a profound impact on my ability to maintain the kind of grit that Rowling or Jobs did. To preserve my sense of individual value, uniqueness, and purpose.
Bruised from rejection, we can’t always see the lesson in a failure or crisis. But that’s OK. Because when I choose to believe that my higher power is keeping the faith, even if I’m a couple steps behind, I will continue to seek out the opportunity to fulfill my purpose. To be and do better.
There are many stories of people who found great personal, financial, and career success in their life. But I want us not to focus on the outcome, but on the messy, non-linear, sometimes painful path there. Great success can’t be achieved without some degree of grit. And that requires faith. The whole way through. For me, that means believing in a God who always has faith in me, always wants it to work out. I just need to put in the effort. Sometimes it’s a little effort and sometimes it’s a lot of effort.
This week, I encourage us to persist faithfully. It’s not our job to follow a perfect blueprint for how we think our lives should pan out. Think of how much good the world would have missed out on had some of the greats given up on themselves?! Don’t do the same, don’t write-yourself off. Believe in your ability to overcome and succeed in the face of failure, whether that’s through faith in a higher power who believes in you or otherwise. We can always help ourselves and others through the unavoidable failures. With some grit, you can find your greatness on the other side.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love.
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community