How well would you say that you handle losing?
My entire life I have always picked up skills pretty quickly and have been naturally pretty decent at anything I tried my hand at. I always excelled at new sports quickly and I very rarely ever came across a problem I couldn’t find a solution to. That seems all well and good, but I’ve come to realize that this had actually made me mentally weak.
I have very little grit. I came to realize this when I was playing my umpteenth round of racket ball against my now-husband, not wanting to leave until I won a match. He had just taught me the game a couple weeks prior to this showdown and this was only my second time ever playing.
Although I am embarrassed to admit it, I was quickly unraveling from the fact that I still couldn’t win. In my anger, I was being a jerk to my husband, I was cursing (which I rarely every do) and I even had tears of frustration brimming in my eyes. Deep down I knew that this was only my second time ever playing and I hadn’t yet earned the right to win. But success had come so easily to me in the past that the idea of losing, no matter how hard I worked for it, put me off-kilter.
This is where the book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth comes into play. She spent time studying West Point attendees to determine if there are any specific characteristics displayed in those who graduate versus those who don’t.
She points out the fact that all attendees are all highly successful, driven people. They were probably always top of their class, captain of their respective high school teams and all-around elite athletes.
They key difference she determined, is whether or not they can persevere during unwinnable situations. Do they lose their cool like I did during my racket ball showdown? Or is their determination unwavering?
Not every situation in life is winnable, but how we handle ourselves in those situations can make or break us.