November 2013

On Grit

A true survivor embodies many character traits; resourcefulness, optimism and
grit just to name a few. Resourcefulness and optimism can be looked up but grit
isn’t as easily defined. Grit is what it takes to stay the course even if that
course is painful, difficult or downright nasty. For me, grit is a throwback to
the qualities of the toughest people America has ever produced. Grit can be
used to describe our country’s frontiersmen/women, the survivors of the
dustbowl, the woodsmen and lumberjacks of the CCC, the hardworking and
scrapping efforts of the homefronters during WWII and many others since that
greatest generation. Grit means seeing the bigger picture past the negative
circumstances you’re facing.

Grit is something the modern survivor must harness from time to time. The first
time you simply choke down food for its nutrition without taking time to discover
its awful taste is an example of grit. When you use snow to wipe yourself in
the winter because no other option is available is another chilling example.
When you no longer blink an eye at the thought of removing deeply embedded splinters
from the palm of your hand after splitting wood for your pile is yet another.
The gritty, people with grit if you follow me, view these unpleasant
experiences as tasks on a list. No complaining, no whining, just action and
resolve. The gritty don’t look for anyone’s hand, they take control of the
situation, learn and deal with it. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with
gritty people. Some of my best friends are by my side no matter how bad a
situation is. In fair weather or foul, they are there and won’t ask any
questions. The grittiness of the situation can’t outweigh the strength of our
friendship. If you’re lucky, you find a handful of friends like this in a
lifetime. If you’re lucky, you find it in your significant other as well.

The survival skills we love to practice and learn help galvanize our grit and
ability. We’ve recognized the importance of self-reliance and dealing with
problems without complaint. Unfortunately, there are more people in society who
choose the victim mentality over taking control for themselves and who will
likely never understand what grit is because they don’t think the way we do.
The true survivor is constantly undermined by politically correct programs and
social institutions. According to those who believe in the idea everyone gets a
trophy or the suspension for chewing your Pop Tart in the shape of a pistol,
grit has no place in society anymore. Someone or something will take care of
you. Hard lessons aren’t learned and compassion is prioritized over reality. What
does this mean for the next generation? When a real gritty situation presents
itself and the only answer is self-reliance, those accustomed to a helping hand
have been set up for failure.

Life isn’t always going to be puppies and butterflies and, as history has shown
us, at times it can be downright horrible. Grit is necessary for survival in
those times. Of course, there is a fine line between being gritty and being
downright stubborn when help is available. I’m not opposed to helping others. I
am opposed to turning temporary remedies to problems into permanent habits,
dependency and a sense of entitlement. Relying on others charity too much wears
away from your own grit. Relying on others too much also adds to the overall
problem of society getting soft. So, are you going to be part of the problem or
part of the solution? Have you tested your level of grit lately? Will you turn
belly up or show your true grit and endure when the proverbial dookie hits the
fan? I can’t answer these questions for you. Only you can.