Week three and we’re starting to get deep into the weeds. This week’s lesson is deals with “Grit” which by dictionary definition is defined as “courage and resolve, strength of character.” In the FRC (Flow Research Collective) parlance is broken into six unique categories: perseverance, thought control, being at your best when you’re at your worst, train your weakness, fear and recovery.” Being able to demonstrating courage, and resolve, strength of character in these six uniquely separate areas, will definitely add some grit to my everyday life.
Allow me to elaborate what the six mean to me:
“Perseverance” is the general catch all word I’m used to applying when I hear the word grit! It is an essential component or foundational concept of this word grit but from what I’m learning now is there’s much more to be parsed or teased out of this singular concept of perseverance.
“Thought control,” oh brother can I relate to this being a part of grit yet up to now I never connected the dots. Whether my mother planted this seed in me or her comments came from her observations I don’t know, to be honest possibly it was a little bit of both. Throughout the time she was alive she often made the comment: “Lorne you’re, your own worst enemy” more times than I care think of. Ever since I can remember there has been a self defeating internal narrative of self doubt and self recrimination which has caused me a great deal of pain, misfortune and lost opportunity’s so yes I can definitely see where having the courage, resolve and strength of character to work through, overcome and silence this internal voice would definitely involve some grit.
“Being at your best when you’re at your worst.” This phrase I understand well, yet with that said it doesn’t mean I’m very good at it. To have a strong enough commitment to purpose to draw on our mental, emotional or physical reserves when we’re having a not so good, challenging day or going through a rough stretch of time is something I continue to work on, see thought control. It’s when these times happen for me that it definitely takes all my courage, resolve and strength of character to not give into the internal and sometimes external whining, excuses and rationalizations that can become an easy default mechanism.
“Train your weakness!” Over the last twenty five plus years of my second life I have come across conflicting information regarding focusing on our strengths or training up your weakness. I think both are valid depending on when, where and why we are focusing on them and the purpose behind the when, where and why. In this case I believe it’s about taking an area of our lives or a skill set that we’ve identified as essential to the fulfilling of our MTP “Massively Transformative Purpose,” yet is an area where we know we could be and or need to be stronger to accomplish it.
“Fear!” In today’s world this is one of the most crippling, debilitating emotions we have to deal with. Originating in a part of our brain called the amygdule it is a throwback to prehistoric times when we needed to always be on the alert to the dangers that surrounded us, wild animals, lack of food, lack of adequate shelter etc. In today’s world especially in the west those dangers are in many ways a part of our past, at least the wild animal’s part. Yet our amygdule doesn’t know the difference between a real threat and an imagined threat, it’s always on the alert for threats and responds accordingly. Whether the threat is real or imagined the amygdule will flood our body with cortisol, the flight, fight freeze or faint hormone. It will do this whether the perceived threat is a term paper, a real life confrontation or a stressful situation at work etc.
When I declared bankruptcy at forty eight I was a rail, underweight, skinny and stressed to the max. Now at seventy five, even after experiencing a heart attack (2019) and a stroke (2022) both of which I recovered from quickly, I am healthy and fit. I’ve learned to deal with my fear when it starts to rise inside of me with an acronym which helped me find the necessary grit to face it down. It is something I read many years ago which when I spent some time thinking about it bore out to be true more times than not, “fear” is False Evidence Appearing Real.
“Recovery” this is the last of the six grit categories and one that might seem a little odd at first. Recovery in FRC terminology regards sleep, quiet time, walks in nature etc. Activities that we tell ourselves we don’t have time for, give ourselves time for or give lip service too. Recovery is the final step in the “Flow” process of Struggle, Release, Flow, and Recovery. It is an essential and necessary component in the process and as I’ve learned through personal experience takes grit to commit to daily. Looking back at the proceeding five categories of: perseverance, thought control, being your best when you’re at your worst, training your weakness and fear take a minute and think how incredibly hard any one of these are when we’re tired, stressed, worried etc, then think about how much we were able to accomplish when we’re rested and relaxed. If you’re at all like me this was an area I short shifted for the greater part of my life, not any more. I religiously get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, I do invigorating or calming breath work throughout my day, morning, mid day and evening before bed and even with a busy schedule I ensure there a periods of time throughout my day of quiet to recover.
As I’ve come to discover “grit” is much more than just toughing something through. It’s about self observation, thought control, knowing where we are at mentally, emotionally or physically and adjusting ourselves accordingly, being at our best when at our worst, how to identify and train our weakness to fulfill our MTP, the importance of neutralizing the effects of fear and finally the critical importance of recovery. It’s the discipline to find the courage, resolve and strength of character to persevere and be gritty in any or all of these areas in our daily life.
You can find out more about me at https://www.lornedavidson.com .
See you again soon.
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