Angela Duckworth, in her seminal work on Grit, and how it makes us successful, lays out the 4 characteristics she believes defines a gritty person.
- They’re interested- Gritty people are passionate, excited and enjoy what they do.
- They practice- day after day, hour after hour.
- They have purpose- they believe their work matters and is meaningful.
- They have hope- they believe their dream is within reach.
You can take her grittiness test here.
I’m a 4.3 out of 5 on the scale. This doesn’t surprise me. I think I would out work anyone on anything, even if I didn’t care about the project anymore, just because that’s how my being works. If you asked any friend of mine who was the most driven, disciplined person they know, I can guarantee I would top that last. To a fault, for sure. My tenacity often blinds me to what’s important and smarter work habits. Often times I get so stuck on what I think is the best way to do something I will work myself ragged doing a 32-step process in order to come to the same result someone else could’ve, but with much less effort.
Hard work doesn’t scare me. After working for 10 hours in the front yard one day this week on an extensive cleanout of the garden, I felt like a 1920’s cotton farmer- not at all blending in with the manicured, clean, callous-free hands of anyone around me. While running wiring under the house in our crawl space last week, I was disgusted to see this as I army crawled in the 2 feet of space I had to move around:
Yep. That’s animal (I hope) bones. There was a spine, a femur, and other assorted bits of bone. That I had to crawl over. <shudder> But I did it. It’s dirty, it’s gross, but I did it. There have been several occasions I texted a pic to my husband of my days adventure in the attic or under the house, or clearing out a 200 pound branch that fell from our tree into the street, often with the caption: Today didn’t go how I planned.
The point of this post is not to praise my inability to be a gentle, polished, lovely lady. The point is to say, I enjoy it. The things I do- whether it’s the constant grind of an acting career and people yelling “NO!” or the endless house projects I just have to do and wouldn’t dream of paying someone to- are what make up who I am and the life I’m enjoying. It’s a process, it’s a non-stop grate, it’s a sweating, dirty, aching, bleeding, crying, despairing, dreaming, exciting, joyful, painful lovely journey.
So when someone asks me why I do what I do- why I put up with agents who tell me to lose weight, or rejection on an hourly basis- or 12 years of solid, exhausting, diligent work and discipline that result in not one single film/tv agent interested in giving me a chance or the opportunity to say one line on a stupid ass CBS show like “I don’t know- He always kept to himself” all I can say is “Because. Because it is and I am and we are.” It’s as simple as that. The work, the grit, the dream, the hope, the process and the journey. They’re all mine, and I love them, despite their setbacks. Mine. It’s me and who I am. I don’t plan on changing that.