"I have begun to love the rain."

Posted by jlubans on October 10, 2012

20121010-plaingrit.jpeg
Caption. Grits are NOT Grit!
The college admissions industry of high school counselors and admissions administrators is abuzz, we are told, with the concept of grit (not the hominy corn version pictured above) and using measures of grit to predict whether a prospective student has what it takes to stay the distance. The grit test may be the Holy Grail for predicting personal qualities not demonstrated by a perfect SAT score. Of course one might suggest that it is best to avoid (for multiple reasons) students who ace the SAT – but I digress. You can take the grit test yourself. “Be honest”, the test compilers beseech us, "there are no right or wrong answers!” I doubt if that generous perspective will hold amongst the admissions folks.
At this late point in my life, I scored a grittiness of 4.33 some degrees away from the extreme grittiness of 5.0. What’s your score?
As you can imagine, there is no consensus on the use of the test. Presumably, our colleges would want to admit mostly 4s & 5s. Would there be fallback institutions for the 1s, the “not at all gritty”? Quien sabe?
It all reminds me of my women’s basketball chapter in Leading from the Middle.
At season’s end I asked the team, “What’s been the difference-maker in this team’s growth? What’s caused the greatest improvement among the players?”
“Losing games” and “team unity”, they said. You see it’s not just having an adverse situation; more important is how you respond – that’s grit.
One player eloquently added:
“…there is a reason for rain. Sunny days are always desirable,
but if there were no rain I would have no basis for comparing sunny days. Sunny days are so much brighter after it has rained. I have begun to love the rain”.
The basketball team reference brings the notion of grit around to the concept of teamwork. I have always admired my gritty team members – when they used their grittiness to help others - and would want to include them on future teams. One does wonder, however, if the extremely gritty might not be best as solo performers, kind of like Andrew Summers Rowan who got his "letter to Garcia" through enemy lines.
One of the reasons I included, for several years, outdoor adventures in our staff development program was to introduce staff to a controlled adversity. More often than not those that volunteered to rock climb, trek overnight, or do a variety of “high ropes” found they were up to the challenge. They met it head on and overcame it. Some were surprised and most came away with raised confidence levels about taking on impossible challenges at work. Best of all, having faced adversity with other staff, they now had stronger relationships and perspectives of each other.
Speaking of grit, real grit, I can recommend the story of running star and war hero, Louis Zamperini, “Unbroken”. I am not sure there’s a high enough grit score for what Mr. Zamperini endured and survived.
Finishing on a culinary note, for those readers outside of the Southern United States, I can recommend highly this version of the classic dish, Shrimp ‘n Grits, especially for intaking on rainy days.


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Comments

Posted by Russ on October 10, 2012  •  11:12:36

3.17 (almost grit pi)

Posted by jlubans on October 10, 2012  •  12:43:28

Good one. Grit Pi!

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