About 8 months ago as I'm building the online brand around Grit.org, I inquired about buying a domain gritinstitute.com. It is owned by a guy Paul that is a professor, instructor, and author about Grit. I offered $500 for his domain, and he responded he wanted half a million dollars for the domain! Obviously, I didn't pursue it, but I did buy his book on Grit - The new science behind what it takes to persevere, flourish, and succeed.
He defines grit as the capacity to dig deep and do whatever it takes - even sacrifice, struggle, and suffer - to achieve your most worthy goals in the best ways. The goal is to focus on your propensity to seek and consider new ideas, additional alternatives, different approaches, and fresh perspectives. To focus on your capacity to respond constructively and ideally make good use of all kinds of adversity. To focus on growing your gut-level capacity to pursue the right goals in the best and smartest ways. To excel in the degree to which you persist, commit to, stick with, and relentlessly go after whatever it is you choose to achieve. To improve your wear and tear factor - how well you hold up and the degree to which you are worn down or become stronger over time.
In one chapter of the books, he talks about the importance of your 'why' matching your 'try.' In other words, for any particular goal you have in your life, you have to ask yourself how strong is your why for that particular goal. Similarly, you have to ask yourself, how strong is your try. If you have a strong why but your try isn't strong enough, then you will feel guilty, remorseful, or even self-loathing for knowing that you are not putting in nearly enough of the right kind of effort for something that warrants your best. If you have a strong 'try' but your 'why' isn't strong enough, then you are killing yourself at something that seems relatively worthless. You can apply this to work, sports, relationships, or any other aspect of your life and if the why and try are not strong enough and not closely aligned, then your potential to achieve that goal is severely limited.
When I was building an insurance brokerage, my mentor would start a goal setting session with the question, 'Can you lift a car?' Of course, our initial response was 'No!' However, he would then go on to say, 'Well what if someone important to you was stuck underneath that car, then could you lift it?' It is an interesting question that shifts our perspective and helps us understand that if our 'why' is big enough, then we can do just about anything we want to do.
In his book, Paul takes it one step further to say that if an individual has a strong 'why' and 'try' towards a particular goal and it is aligned with someone else close to them (spouse, teammate, co-worker, etc), then you are able to unlock another level of impact by experiencing the journey with this other person. We've seen it with the US Hockey Team in 1980, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill and Melinda Gates. I know for me and my wife, what helped us unlock that in our marriage was when we started looking at our marriage through the lens of 'Team Harbin.' Every decision filtered through what was best for her and I as a couple and as parents of our 3 boys. Our why became united and our try aligned working in that direction as well. We were no longer pulling in different directions and with different agendas.
I challenge each of you today to think about what is an area of your life right now where you have the biggest 'why.' Once you have clearly identified it, adjust your try to match the strength of your why. Then the goal is to find someone that is similarly aligned and together you can start to pursue that which is most important to you.
Below is a picture of my son's friend aligning his 'why' and 'try' by reeling in his dream fish (the Tarpon) which took over 25 minutes and over one mile chasing it to reel in this 100 lb + fish