Well known Psychologist and author, Angela Duckworth wrote a piece back in 2016 called, “Why Millennials struggle for Success?”
She describes Grit in this piece as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals. It’s what keeps us going when everything else make it seem easier to give up.”
Comparing the generations
This article states that when comparing the older generations to the current millennials there was a stark contrast in grit which correlated with age. Back in the day, the expectation was people grew up to do one thing for a living and then retire. Nowadays, research has found that after school, till retirement, Australians will have an average of 17 employers, and essentially five to seven separate careers.
In contrast, Duckworth then goes on to ask whether the reason why Baby Boomers have more grit is due to their life experience and that time allows people the ability to look into tough seasons retrospectively and find that we are in fact, “surprisingly capable of getting up after falling down”. Ultimately, Duckworth finds that grit and growth go hand in hand, whereby age and grit is never entirely fixed.
Finding grit in the Bible
This piece and her work got me thinking about a growth mindset and grit:
What does God say to us about grit? How do we apply it as Christians?
So what does God say about grit? How do we view life as a marathon rather than a sprint?
While researching this thought, I looked up the word “grit” in the Bible and found this passage in Colossians chapter 1 verses 9 - 12 (MSG) that says,
“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.”
Going the long-haul
Here we find that grit, although vital, is an acquired character trait. One that is forged in adversity and finds hope to keep persevering through Godly strength not natural energy or motivation.
In James chapter 1 verses 2 -4 (NIV) it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Ultimately, grit is viewing life with long term purpose and not giving up when life gets tough. As Christians, we have a sense of eternity and everlasting hope that is present in every circumstance that can allow us to think further than the here and the now; the present and instant gratification.
As it says in Romans chapter 8 verses 38 – 39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It is with this hope that grit can be forged - each step, each day and each season.
Meenal Chandra is a Sydney based writer who believes we are all in need of grit; whatever your age.
Meenal Chandra previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html
Refer to “Why Millennials struggle for success” - Angela Duckworth. May 3, 2016 for quotes above.
Refer to “Grit: the power of passion and perseverance - Ted Talk” - Angela Duckworth. Published May 9, 2013.