GRIT vs. Luck

GRIT vs. Luck

I think that saying “good luck” to someone before they take on a big challenge isn’t quite right. While I like the sentiment, something that might stick a little more is “Never Quit” or “Never Give Up”. Saying that luck has anything to do with your success just doesn’t feel right. You mean I was lucky to pass that test? Hell no, I worked hard to pass it, I earned that grade!

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.

Tryon Edwards

I’ve been thinking about what “defines” who I am a lot lately. As hard as I work on the physical side of myself, the more I realize I have to work just as hard on the mental.

My Sensei recently said to me that the best students are often the ones that lack that special natural physical talent, they are usually those that have to work extra hard for their success. They earn it through hard work and dedication. They forge a mental attitude through practice that drives them to achieve their goals. If he had to choose a new student between one who has the raw natural physical talent and one who has to work and scrap for everything they get, then he’d choose the latter.

I agree with him 100%.

I’ve been coaching and teaching fitness for over 2 years now professionally. I can tell you without a doubt the biggest let down’s i’ve experienced are with those that have natural talent, things come easy to them and as a result they simply don’t work as hard as those that aren’t “born with it”. They almost always stop showing up or lose interest when things eventually (and they ALWAYS will) get challenging…

What is it that makes someone seek out a goal and stick with the work long enough to reach it? Hard work creates determination in a person. Deep in my heart I believe that hard work builds character and teaches you true respect and humility.

If your goals are too easily achieved and you reach them without much effort then there really is no lesson and you can start to take it all for granted. To achieve that feeling when conquering your goals after many failed attempts and long hours of work or practice is priceless.

I’m not saying you can be given those gifts from god, have that natural built in talent, and never achieve anything. I’m not looking down on those people either. Can you just imagine what happens when natural talent meets hard work and dedication? That is beauty right there folks. What i’m saying is that I haven’t truly seen it in person yet. How I long for that day — when it comes i’ll be ready as a coach though. 🙂

I’ll share a story of something I experienced with my own training:

A couple of years back I was working on running a 12k trail run (~7.5 miles) I put in some pretty hard work for over 3 months straight. I kept going out trying to tack on an extra mile each time I ran, just trying to muscle it out. My thinking was that if I just stuck on a mile every week or so, eventually i’d add on enough to reach the 7.5 miles.

Nope.

In fact my distances got worse and for some reason my endurance suffered from that approach… It was only after I tried something new that one of my mentors told me about; visualize that long run, focus on what I was going to do before I got to the trails, get myself into a positive mental state about the distance — only then was I able to pull off a fairly quick 6 miles. (the longest i’d ever gone before was 4 miles at that time, literally the week before.) I thought about running the distance for 2–3 days beforehand. I thought about what kind of pace I would set and how I would handle breathing during different parts of the trail, planning how I would recover my wind while still running. I got to the point where I actually could feel it in my mind.

Small victory? Maybe, but it felt HUGE that day. 
(Thank you for that lesson Coach Divine!)

The lesson I learned is that the physical part of training is only a portion of what you have to do to get ready for something that is beyond your current abilities. I’ve seen people who have let themselves down by quitting in the middle of trying. I’ll be honest, i’ve done it myself as well. It’s not as simple as “mind over matter” and you can’t will yourself to push through something the moment you need it for the first time. You have to develop “Grit.” You only seem to find Grit within hard-ass work and determination.

You have to have control over yourself both mentally and physically in equal portions. You have to be able to turn it on when you need it and to do that you have to practice it all the time. It doesn’t happen overnight either. Like anything that’s worth it, it takes some time. Just like you have to practice whatever else it is you’re trying to achieve; be it a race, a Karate rank test, a college degree or some other professional assignment.

Grit is what gives you the will to win.

To dig deeper in order to keep pushing when you feel like you’re going to die.

I think It’s why we all love the underdog so much, because they’re not supposed to win. They got there through long hours of hard work and practice.

If I do have control over the things that define who I am, I want it to be that i’m known as a person who never quits, who will never give up.

I will also start telling people; “Don’t Quit” instead of “Good Luck”.

All things being equal… I would rather have grit than luck any day.