Five Traits of True Grit

August 2015, Mark bicycling for the first time with his new right hip.

August 2015, Mark bicycling for the first time with his new right hip.

It’s hard to describe the behavior of grit unless you know someone who has it. Sunday I wrote about A Man With True Grit which has become my favorite way to describe my husband, Mark. I used to relate grit to cowboys and believed they had to have it to survive the rugged, wild west, withstanding harsh elements, hunger and loneliness. However, the more I research it and am surrounded by people in a rehab center who are enduring pain and fatigue while living in unfamiliar territory, I’m realizing it’s a trait we all need. So what is grit?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of mind or spirit; unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.”  Five personality traits I see in gritty people are:

  • Determination is a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.Behind every success there are moments of doubt when quitting appears to be the best option.  A person with grit is firm even though it costs to keep going in the face of failure. They have an unwavering adherence to their purpose. They are unstoppable, firm and strong willed.
  • Perseverance is the quality that allows you to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult. Gritty people are not near-sighted. They are willing to wait, knowing today’s effort is an investment in the long run. They accomplish great things because they are willing to work hard for a long period of time. They have a long-term perspective, understanding the theory of an investment today becomes a fortune in the future. Pain today benefits tomorrow.
  • Endurance is the quality of remaining for a long time. People with grit don’t quit. They keep charging forward despite setbacks. High-grit people recognize the cost of quitting and are determined to stick with it. They don’t give up on the future for an easier present. They would rather die trying than stop and that’s why they usually reach the finish line.
  • Fortitude is the strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. A person with grit endures disappointments with steadfastness and patience. Because gritty people take on the most difficult challenges, they have an intimate knowledge of failure, but they do not view failure as an obstacle or the finish line. They don’t run from failure, they use it. Each failure becomes a step in the staircase to success.
  • Courage is the ability to do something that you know is difficult, frightening or dangerous. Gritty people are brave and not afraid to do what they believe is right. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to face it. Even the grittiest warriors feels fear, but they face it. Every time we face a fear, it loses some of its power. Fear exerts as much control as you allow it. If you nurture fear, it will grow. If you face fear, it dissolves.

John Wayne 1Life is tough, bringing each of us different challenges. Exercising these five traits will increase our grit and help us overcome our challenges.

I’m grateful for a man who is willing to tough it out while hanging on to hope and his knowledge of God.

What characteristics do you see in a person with true grit?

References:

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition

http://joshirby.com/2014/07/03/five-characteristics-of-high-grit-people/

 

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Forging New Frontiers

We can learn from pioneers’ examples as they made their way into unknown territory. In July, Utah honors pioneers not only for their difficult trek here, but for their hard work and devotion to establish a new way of life, which opened up many possibilities for all who live here. We appreciate what they built, shaped and created in this beautiful state.

As we are innovators and developers of our own lives, we are like the pioneers of the past. Circumstances often force us to break new ground, hopefully leading the way to a better life. Sometimes we’re unprepared to meet our challenges, but as we initiate faith and courage we discover new frontiers. In this sense, we are modern-day pioneers forming and constructing, with anticipation, something good from a hard or bad situation.

When I reflect on how the pioneers made their trek west, I see wisdom and foresight in their method. I’ve listed five of their practices that could benefit our own journey.

Pioneer Trek Reinactment

Pioneer Trek Reinactment

1) Gather in groups. The pioneers organized themselves in companies and leaders were assigned to each group. They rallied around each other, helping one another. They needed and depended on each other for survival. They mourned and rejoiced together. It’s hard to imagine a pioneer making the trek on their own. Likewise, I can’t imagine making my journey without the advice, love and support of others. Just as the pioneers circled their wagons for protection at night, we should encircle ourselves by embracing those around us who are willing and wanting to help.

2) Consider advice from a scout or forerunner. Usually, a couple of men rode on horses ahead of the group to explore the best possible route and to help prepare for obstacles that might be in their way. I think of doctors, nurses, therapists and other caregivers who have knowledge or experiences similar to mine as mentors, guides and/or pathfinders. Their advice is valuable when navigating on foreign ground.

3) Allow for respite time. The pioneers walked or rode many miles every day except on Sunday for months. Logically, if they would have traveled on Sunday they may have reached their destination sooner, but they revered the Sabbath Day. I see the wisdom in taking time to rest from our everyday routine, yet it can be hard sometimes to stop and take a break because our eyes are set on the goal and we don’t feel like we have the time to stop. Whether we realize it’s needed or not, we feel refreshed and renewed after respite.

4) Develop courage, faith and hope. I think pioneers had to have these three traits, but did they always have them? Reason tells me no. They were regular human beings, just like you and I, with hardships. I feel fortunate that my difficulties are not like theirs and I appreciate their example of perseverance. I’m encouraged by their dedication as they worked daily developing courage, faith and hope. Hopefully some days were easier than others, when these traits came more naturally.Their endurance developed them into the strong pioneers they were. Likewise we become stronger as we develop courage, faith and hope on the days when it doesn’t come naturally.

5) Your best is good enough. The handcart plan was for seventeen miles a day for sixty days, but none of the ten companies could reach that goal. They must have felt despair and frustration from the slow journey of seven to fifteen miles on a good day, making the trip tedious and wearisome. Giving their best was good enough, so it must be the same for us. It may take longer and be harder than we expected, but if we are persistent in doing and/or giving our best, it will be good enough.

Pioneer Trek Reenactment

Pioneer Trek Reenactment

The pioneers didn’t know how or when their journey would end. Similarly, we don’t know how or when ours will either, but if we follow their example, we can also forge new frontiers.

What have you learned from the pioneers’ examples?

Feeling Lucky

HCI

Nestled in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains just above the University of Utah Hospital is the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). The front of the hospital is nearly all windows that overlook the Salt Lake Valley. Not only is this a beautiful hospital with breathtaking views, it has great reviews. I add mine to the thousands that are already out there.

HCI, Front Entrance

I had never been to HCI until this week. Our daughter Katie was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer and chose to have her surgery at HCI on March 5, 2014. As we drove up to the hospital into the circular valet parking area I was immediately impressed with the appearance of the facility. It was classy, warm and inviting. It did not resemble any hospital I’d ever seen and I believe I’ve seen every hospital in the Salt Lake County. As Mark and I entered into the main lobby area it felt spacious and opened. There was a gorgeous seating area, with nice comfortable furniture, an information desk on one side and a grand piano on the other. A beautiful staircase of cherry wood and steel took you up to the next floor or you could choose to take the elevators which framed with marble. I thought I had walked it to the finest hotel in Utah.

HCI, 5th floorKatie’s surgery was on the third floor. The waiting room had a beautiful view of the valley as did all six floors. The waiting room was decorated with several shamrocks hanging from the ceiling and placed on the walls by the check-in area. The shamrocks added a lucky charm to the room and I said, Katie, don’t you feel lucky to be treated in this place?” She chuckled at my question.

As Katie was checking in, I noticed a plaque “Cancer Is So Limited—It cannot destroy love.  It cannot shatter hope.  It cannot corrode faith. It cannot destroy people. It cannot kill friendship. It cannot suppress memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot invade the soul. It cannot steal eternal life. It cannot conquer the spirit.”

Feeling Lucky2I showed it to Katie, inspired by the sentiment that cancer cannot take away what’s most important. As we sat for a few minutes waiting to be called into the surgical waiting room, I decided it was the perfect time to give her my gift. She laughed as she unwrapped the gift and stated it was the coolest T-shirt she’d ever seen.  Back in the surgical waiting room I laid the T-shirt over her blankets so the good luck charm would influence her and the doctors. She was a good sport about it and it made a fun conversation piece for the long wait.

The surgery went well, however the cancer had spread to at least two lymph nodes, so those were removed with several others that surrounded the two infested lymph nodes. It was almost a three hour surgery with another hour in recovery before she was wheeled into her room.

HCI, Patient BedHCI, TV ConsoleWhat a welcome sight she was for Eldin, Mark and I. It seemed like we had waited forever. Her color was good along with her spirits. She was relieved as we all were that the surgery was behind her now.  The nurses were as wonderful as the doctors. They welcomed her to Hotel Huntsman with narcotics and took very good care of her. The following day she was released to come home.

HCI, GuestHCI, Bath

The rooms were spacious and comfortable. Check out the beautiful molding in the bathroom. There is also molding around the ceiling. What an amazing place to treat a dreadful disease. Thank you, thank you Jon Huntsman Sr. for a beautiful facility and a caring staff. You are one of my heroes for doing an awesome job. I’m feeling lucky for my daughters successful surgery!


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