got grit

Got Grit? The Value of Pushing Through Adversity!

Recently, I’ve learned a lot about grit. It’s a value that is not often spoken about. And at this point, you might be wondering, “What is grit?” Instead of providing an intellectual answer, I thought that grit would be better described with three short stories.

Stories of Grit

Below, you will find stories about the value of pushing through adversity. As we will see, grit is a skill that is incredibly important in leadership and everyday life.

Grit and Running

Today, I saw a simple example of the power of grit while on my morning jog. Jogging is not my favorite activity, and I have difficulty staying consistent. Fortunately, Addison–my fourteen-month-old daughter–keeps me on track.

Addison toddled to our door after breakfast and repeated, “go by by,” until I finally gave in. This is Addison’s way of reminding me that it’s time for our run. So I buckled her in our jogging stroller, and the two of us set off.

Early into our routine, I was passed by a much younger and faster runner.  I reminded myself that he wasn’t pushing a baby stroller–because that had to be what was slowing me down 🙂

Addison and I came to a hill. We continued pressing forward.

Then, I looked up…

About a hundred feet in front of me was that speedy jogger. The same one who had blown by Addison and me a few minutes earlier. He had run out of steam, and I was quickly gaining ground!

Addison and I picked up our pace. I’m going to catch this guy, I thought to myself. However, just before Addison and I could overtake him, this speedy jogger began running again.

I wondered how the scenario would play out.

  • Would this speedy runner get tired and take another break?
  • Would Addison and I catch him a second time?
  • Could this become a real-life story of the Tortoise and the Hair?

Unfortunately, we will never know. The jogger turned down a different road, and our race was over. My guess is that he didn’t want to compete with this slow, steady, and gritty dad.

A gritty runner keeps pressing forward and discovers that slow and steady wins the race.

Grit in Math

I was introduced to the concept of grit in my children’s classroom. Their school has adopted the theme, “A year of grit.” The theme comes in response to the introduction of Common Core Math. The Common Core method forces students to think about numbers differently. In class, students,

  • Write about the numbers.
  • Discuss numbers, and
  • Approach math differently than the traditional method learned by most adults.

Some parents love it. Others hate it. Yet, this post is not about Common Core. It’s about grit. The bottom line is that for my kiddos, Common Core Math is here to stay. Thus, like it or not, they need to learn it.

The year of grit theme is all about pushing through the frustration and sticking with it. Because gritty students will eventually learn this new way of thinking about numbers.

Grit in Writing

This week, I received an e-mail from a friend that made me smile. He talked about how he imagined building a blogging audience as being much easier than it is. I smile because, a year ago, I thought the same thing myself.

Writing is hard work. Connecting with others is even more challenging. Yet, I’m discovering that I can bond with others in a meaningful way through persistence and hard work. The truth is, most blogs are built through grit–one post at a time.


The Bottom Line about Grit

The bottom line is that hard is normal. Running, learning new ways of doing math, and writing are all hard work. I suppose that there are a select few who do these things naturally. However, for the average person, success is built through grit.

  • Gritty runners finish the race by putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly.
  • Gritty students complete their work one problem at a time.
  • Gritty authors grind out their masterpieces. They complete one sentence and then another until the work is complete.

Biblical Grit

The Bible has much to say about grit too. Hebrews 11 is referred to as “The Hall of Faith.” Yet, if you read through this passage, you’ll notice an underlying theme of grittiness too. Hebrews 11 is a tribute to Christ-followers who refused to give up. It is a chapter about pushing through adversity with a tenacious faith that keeps trusting God, no matter what.

Research on Grit

Below, you will find an excellent Ted Talk on the value of grit. As you will see, there is much research left to be done. Nevertheless, the limited knowledge we have shows that grit matters. [Tweet “Gritty leaders–who press forward in adversity–often surpass those with talent alone.”]

In the next post, we will dive into practical applications for integrating grit into our everyday life. We will also examine specific strategies for nurturing this quality in our kids. For now, I would love it if you would join in the conversation by sharing times when you showed grit by pushing through adversity and were better for it. I can’t wait to hear your stories of grittiness and success!  

More Leadership Posts

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at

7 thoughts on “Got Grit? The Value of Pushing Through Adversity!”

  1. I shared this on another blog we both read, but it has different context here.

    I’m in pretty good shape. Kids I mentor and other people who know me often ask me, “How do you stay excited and motivated about hitting the gym?” And my answer is always the same: “I don’t. It’s always a mental battle and it comes down to discipline. I like the results, mentally and physically. I hate the process– every time.” People seem surprised by this, but it’s the truth. Often in life, people think results come easily to some people, and so they excuse themselves from engaging, because they don’t see themselves as “exceptional like that.” And sometimes, it can even be irritating when people don’t realize that, nope, it’s not easy. It’s just a lot of hard work, discipline and consistency (i.e., “grit”).

    It’s that way with most things in life, including everything from writing to choosing to be kind when others aren’t.

    1. Hey Erik,

      I love the workout analogy, as well as the thought that something as simple as kindness can require grit & hard work–because, at times, it really does.

      It’s great to hear these words from you too. You make writing, kindness, and connecting with others look effortless (at least from my perspective). It’s nice knowing that I’m not the only one moving forward by sheer grit & persistence on some days 🙂

  2. Hey, Jed!

    Last year, I and my family ended an 8-year chapter of grit. We’d sold our suburban home in 2006 with a goal of buying a rural home on acreage. We thought we’d find our next home within a few months. With the downturn in the housing market that followed the sale of our home, we found ourselves waiting as prices hit their peak then took a dive. Then the recession hit. It took us a few months short of 8 years to reach our goal. At times we thought we’d never achieve it. We went from our home to living with my wife’s parents, to an apartment, then a rental home, to living with the in-laws again when the rental home sold and we were evicted.

    Erik is right on about grit requiring discipline and hard work. Sometimes the hardest work is in our head. In this case, the grit paid off big. We achieved our goal, learned lessons in faith in God and patience along the way, and were able to purchase our new home debt free.

    1. I love this story and am thoroughly impressed with your family’s persistence! The pictures you post on FB with the bees, goats, and flowers, are absolutely gorgeous. And purchasing a home debt free–that is incredible!

      Jenny and I are in the, “wondering if we are ever going to be able to purchase a home,” phase. We are also in the process of getting creative and trying new things. Jenny opened up a licensed daycare last month, and I’m hoping that the writing and blogging eventually create additional opportunities to pay off student loans and save up that initial down payment.

      Your story brings us hope. It’s nice to know that others have struggled with the process, gotten creative, trusted God, continued pushing forward, and succeeded. It sounds like our family is on the right path, and need to keep persisting with grit 🙂 Thanks Jon, for a very encouraging story, and for normalizing our family’s home buying dreams and adventure.

  3. Oh how I like this and the examples you’ve given are so inspiring. Like the one on writing. Agree! Biblical grit, maybe if I stick with it long enough I will understand the book of Revelation. Maybe not. Great post to link to my party this week. Thank you for connecting!

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