Grit Yes vs. Balance

Sometimes we complain that ourselves, or someone close to us, does not have enough determination to tackle work, a project, life itself. We would like everyone to always intervene with determination, rather than give up, because of seeing the task out of their reach or not judging themselves up to the situation.

And in fact, we must also recognize that natural gifts alone (ie talent) are not enough to obtain results.

The stories of those who have achieved success in any field (sports, arts, science, managerial careers, etc.) show how talent can be a facilitating factor, but to allow one to reach the top of the sector is a combination of skills and will, which allows you to never lose focus on the lens.

That is, it seems that to do really well in life, you need something more than talent: you need “grit”, that combination of passion and perseverance for a particularly important goal that, often, even people of talent and intelligence lack.

In reality, the literal meaning of this term is not so clear, but it is commonly combined with terms such as perseverance, resilience, determination, all united by another fundamental thrust: passion.

Having grit in life allows you to be constant in the long term, to believe in the possibility of improving your life conditions, and, consequently, to realize increasingly challenging goals. The gritty person is the one who basically has a success-oriented mentality, that is, capable of grasping and making the most of the different opportunities that life presents in front of him. A person capable of not being stopped by the fear of the unknown and/or of failure and of using every emotion in its constructive value and never as an obstacle.

There is no doubt that passion plays a decisive role because no one works stubbornly on something that does not find it intrinsically interesting.

Passion and perseverance are the two characteristics that make people gritty, able to carry on the commitment in the same direction with tenacity, facilitated by having chosen to work on something that strongly attracts them.

Grit allows the person not to be discouraged in the face of difficulties and not to fall into victimhood, but rather to maintain an optimistic approach that leads them to try and try again even when there are obstacles, problems, unfortunate events.

Now, I think that all this is undoubtedly acceptable and that people try to be more aggressive is certainly desirable.

But, in my opinion, it is also important to understand when to give up and re-evaluate situations, rather than go ahead blindly.

Before they are ready to spend hours and hours diligently honing their skills, those who have not yet found a passion must shop around for something that will spark their interest.

If the key to success lies in the gritty mentality, in the mind of that person who is constantly capable of not giving up in the face of obstacles, therefore also capable of reinventing himself and seizing the opportunities that life can present, perhaps we can also say that at the base there is no ‘is the image of a person without fear, but rather that of a person who is aware and capable of managing his fears by using them constructively.

Personally believe that the greatness of people lies above all in the ability to reconcile the opposite poles of determination and surrender, of strength and delicacy in order to be able to choose, moment by moment, when to engage and “press the accelerator pedal” and when to stop and reflect.

There is no unique term to describe this human quality: we could call it flexibility, integration, adaptability, the ability to respond appropriately to the here-and-now. A person who exhibits this quality is usually called simply balanced.

This quality is more or less present in people, but generally, there is a tendency to exceed in one aspect or another.

The fact is that the ability to be balanced is not usually taught to us as children.

In our Western society, more attention is paid to commitment than to reflection, to good grades at school, to annual income, to competition – even among schoolchildren – thus promoting the development of out-of-balance human beings. People who have developed a great ability to be gritty but who, in other ways, appear clumsy and unhappy, lopsided, as if they had one very muscular leg and the other stunted.

You can exaggerate in grace, in softness, for example giving yourself all the time in this world without ever leaving, or doing things with “rose water”, that is, at an insufficient level of quality. You can overdo it with determination, risking to get tired, freeze and lose sight of the goal.

This is why I think that the balance between grit and grace is an art that should be taught from childhood.

And it is an art because it is based on “feeling”, on the intuition of the person who needs to change course and implement the necessary adjustments, from day to day, or even from hour to hour.

Like all arts, the balance between grit and grace also needs practice to be refined. Good exercise!

I would very much like to know some opinions on my considerations that recognize the value of the grit effect but tend to favor a greater “emotional” balance.

Thank You!


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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