I have been listening to a lot of episodes from The Life Coach School Podcast, created by Brooke Castillo and which talks about entrepreneurship, coaching, and Positive Psychology. There was one particular episode that really hit my brain and heart. It was an episode about grit, our ability to persevere and work towards a specific goal while also keeping our passion alive.
When I started studying Positive Psychology, grit didn’t exist in literature. We would talk about resilience and self-regulation a lot, but grit was only introduced as a concept further down the line, and I honestly dismissed it when it came around. I said to myself “great, another concept on the spotlight”, and I never really cared to read about it. But I should have.
Grit was exactly what I had been looking for to explain the difference between those times in which we give up so easily on our dreams / goals and those in which we keep working towards them until we successfully accomplish them. It is much more than resilience, self-regulation or discipline alone, and that’s why I have never been satisfied with using such concepts to explain why I had been successful on my weight loss journey and why I was now struggling to repeat the same endeavour. It is all about having or not having grit.
The question that came next was “where the hell did my grit go?”. I travelled back in time to the moment I started lacking on it, and that corresponds with the time I failed to be accepted at Nutrition School. Throughout my weight loss journey, and after being discouraged from following Humanities at the age 14, I found something I could do within science: to motivate and help others who were in the same or similar situation I had been. After learning so much about food, exercise, and how to talk with people, it was pretty clear to me that Nutrition School was the only choice for me. I wanted to empower people and educate them about healthier lifestyle decisions. However, I failed to be accepted eight times in total.
At that time, I couldn’t neither afford a private nor a public university outside my town, so I did my best to improve my score. My overall score was 14.46 and I needed at least 14.48 to be accepted. I had three chances to be accepted each year, so each year I would go through the same process and frustration. I did this for three consecutive years. On the third year, however, I gave up trying on the last round because I was mentally destroyed. To save me from another disappointment, I chose Psychology instead to only find out that scores for Nutrition had dropped to 14.46 on that last round. This means that if I had applied for it for the ninth time, I would had studied nutrition and you wouldn’t probably be reading me now. (And I’m glad you are!)
My move to Psychology was a conscious decision, because I knew there would still be a chance for me to do what I wanted to do. I am sure it was all meant to be this way, but I can also see how since then (2009) I let my circumstances take over more often. In the past, I would not allow them to bend them, but after feeling so destroyed I started to give up on things that meant a lot to me, with my clients being the only exception. I gave away my odds of pursuing a successful career in Positive Psychology, I let my work be stolen, I didn’t really make an effort to publicise my book, I didn’t really try hard to stay in my country and yet if I had done it… we wouldn’t be here now.
I don’t regret it, but I do regret the fact I lost my grit. I felt ashamed about that, so now I’m rebuilding it, thanks to the most recent events. The decision to reconnect with my life purpose through listening to what my heart says has made me focus on what I want to accomplish for myself. One of those things is to recover my health, fitness, and wellbeing. My on-going training is helping me a lot with building a new, stronger, gritty me. I have been walking a lot over the past month, just like I used to, and I just started lifting weights again. Like in the “good” old days, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or sunny, it doesn’t matter how much it hurts or how much frustrated I feel with my progress. Over the past year, I realised I have spent exactly ten years giving up on my dreams and never making decisions based on self-fulfilment. Life is full of uncertainty right now, but I’m certain about this: I don’t want to spend a day more giving up on what I know to be my life’s vision.
What About You, Do You Need More Grit In Your Life?
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