You Need Grit to Change the World


I want to talk for a minute about the power of GRIT. Grit will transcend talent every time. Challenges are inevitable and when I face a bump (or sometimes even a full blown mountain) in the middle of the road it is always my grit that plays a more significantly role in getting me through the challenge than talent. Grit is a reflection of the power of passion and perseverance. Of course one’s passion and perseverance may be inspired by different things. For example, much of my grit comes from a vision for my future, faith, and family. Perhaps, my strong-willed personality contributes a teeny-tiny bit, too (wink wink)!

The grit of others also inspires me. There are so many people throughout history that are an incredible reflection of grit and exemplify incredibile strength when something seems impossible, it does not mean that is really is impossible. Attempting “the impossible” requires grit (aka courage or resolve) every time.

“Black Surgeon Performs the First Open Heart Surgery in America”

This headline appeared in 1893. Now you know this African American man named Dr. Daniel Hale Williams had some grit. Let me provide for you some context for this headline. A young black man was rushed to a hospital on Chicago’s south side. A successful surgery was performed. Now lets talk about the significance of this hospital.

Due to the discrimination during this time, African-American citizens were not allowed to be admitted to hospitals. Additionally, black doctors were refused staff positions. Dr. Williams didn’t let the impossible stop him from pursuing necessary change. He proceeded to open a hospital and a training school for nurses, and the most impressive part in my opinion was that this was the nation’s first hospital with a nursing and intern program with a racially integrated staff. Two years later Dr. Williams made history, as he performed a successful open heart surgery in his hospital.

Please take away two things from this significant historical moment:

First, grit is equally available to all. What we accomplish in life depends tremendously on our grit. “An obsession with talent distracts us from this simple truth,” says Angela Duckworth in her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Don’t let the impossible stop you, especially when it means progressing the world toward greater good. Second, there are some incredible stories of men and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities demonstrating grit. We need to make sure education of our youth includes stories of grit and success by men and women of all backgrounds. I want my son to know that the first open heart surgery in America was performed by an African-American doctor!

Thanks.

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