My wife makes fun of me. And not just for the things that couples who have been together as long as we have naturally tease each other about, but for a specific habit of mine. She teases me because seemingly every piece of content I consider creating, for example this blogpost, often ends with the moral “Don’t give up,” so much so that it’s become a running inside joke between us:
Me looking for something in the house
Me: Honey – have you seen my glasses?
Her: Don’t give up.
Her response to a story about my day
And then what did you say? Wait – let me guess: “Don’t give up.”
(This makes absolutely no sense in context)
Me: Gah, these pants are getting more snug…
Her: Please – don’t give up.
What makes it all the funnier is I didn’t even notice this self-trend until she pointed it out to me. Now I catch myself all the time.
It’s true. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now, and here’s the explanation I’ve come up with. So many of the anecdotal lessons I carry from my most formative years as a student, and my current life as a musician and teacher, involve “not giving up.” As a student, teacher, and musician, so much of our purpose and identity is rooted in striving to elevate ourselves and the people around us. And, as with any task that is extended over time, qualities of tenacity and perseverance will often come into question, and therefore the theme, “Don’t give up.”
Angela Duckworth calls this quality, “Grit” – a characteristic I constantly consider how to cultivate in my students. From examining West Point cadets, spelling bee competitors, to rookie teachers, Duckworth suggests its signifcance as a potential predictor of success.
You know how when something is on your mind, you start to see it everywhere? Well that’s my relationship with the idea of “grit.” When I see it in others, I admire it, and then I tuck it away as a piece of inspiration for when I am in need of some myself.
This is all to say that I’d like to start writing a series on Grit, sharing anecdotes as they come to mind. Some will be long, others short, and perhaps a combination of my own experiences and sharing other people’s as I come across them. If you have a story about your encounters with grit, I’d love to hear them. Please share by leaving a comment below!
Turns out one of the earliest pieces of content I created for my website was about Grit. That was 2 years ago and I haven’t given up on blogging. I already have an idea for the next piece I’d like to write for this series, but you can watch and read this one in the meantime on why you should never, ever ring the bell.