GRIT

A while ago, one of my good girlfriends, sent me an article about perseverance; why some are able to withstand tremendous adversity while others can’t? The article referred to this concept of an individual’s strength to endure life’s obstacles, to succeed in the face of adversity, to remain positive and continue to move forward despite what is thrown ones way, as Grit. Those who are able to endure the obstacles-have it- and those who are unable to endure- don’t.

“In a recent article published by People in Aid, Scott Breslin argues that grit, and not just resilience, is a key component for aid workers. Grit is defined ‘as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress’ (Duckworth, et al. 2007: 1087-1088). Resilience instead is the human capacity to bounce back from difficult experiences.” (See more at: http://mindfulnext.org/aid-work-is-not-a-survival-contest/#sthash.OsqxZNnG.dpuf)

I can’t help but wonder if the concept of Grit may also apply to our four-legged friends? Because I am pretty sure that Chance has it. What makes living things able to remain positive and enthusiastic and continue to persevere despite being in tremendous pain?

I am truly humbled every time I look at Chance and I see a 25+ year old horse who has lived for years with painful flare-ups without a known cause…yet even at his absolute worse, he was still engaged in life…eating, whinnying, trying to run and play, giving kisses for treats…and now, after a year of ups and downs, triumphs and tribulations, stumbles and falls, medications and supplements, pokings and probings, needles and adjustments, samples and tests, and changes in just about every aspect of his life, he is finally in a healthy place!  (He is no longer on pain medications daily.  He maybe gets a dose a month or so. And does not have bouts of lameness or swelling).

What enables him to remain his calm and happy self despite all of the above?  How was he not biting and kicking with every prick of a needle?  How is his soul still gentle? How was he determined to walk up a small hill a year ago and now is able to run up that very same hill?  He loves every second of his life.  This may sound odd, but my old guy revels in every single second of his day.

He whinnies the moment I pull up into the driveway and greets me.  He devours every ounce of grass he can.  He often follows his friend and co-caretaker, John, to feed the chickens in the morning. He yells for his buddy, Lucky, when he can’t find him.  He runs every where he is able to including back and forth from the house to the barn- racing with Lucky.  He rolls around in the grass, the snow, or mud.  He will lay in the green grass basking in the sunshine.  He investigates everything around him.  And each and every time he stumbles, or even falls, he gets right back up and tries again.

To me, that is the essence of Grit…to keep on trucking through life with a soft heart and grateful and determined soul.

Duckworth, A. Peterson, C. Matthews, M., Kelly, D. (2007) “Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 92(6), 1087-1101.

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