Coinciding with the release of my book, Old School Grit, I’ve been talking a lot about GRIT lately. Defined as the willpower to persevere with passion and a sense of purpose, psychologists have discovered that if one could identify a single “secret” to success, GRIT would be it.
The discussion of GRIT is exciting, especially when we talk about pursuing our passion and finding our purpose. But it’s vital to not overlook the most important part of the grit equation: perseverance. Without relentless perseverance, the pursuit of your passion will end quickly.
Finding your purpose is only the first step. Pursuing your passions will give you an advantage over those who aren’t as passionate, but it’s not a free pass down easy street.
If you’re going after something worthwhile, you’re going to face lots of adversity along the way. That’s just the way it is. You’ll be pushed to the brink. There will be times when you question yourself. There will be times when you feel like things aren’t going to turn around for you. There will be times when you feel like giving up.
And when those times occur, you must remember the words of Yogi Berra…
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
I don’t think there’s a truer lesson in life. Never assume anything’s really finished or officially happened…until it’s really finished of officially happened.
I’ve always lived by this rule, especially when things look darkest. It’s a great thing to tell yourself when you don’t get what you want most.
That’s what I learned about baseball. It’s a long haul. The season is played out day by day, night by night, and that’s why the game has timeless appeal. No matter how terrible things look, you have a chance for a great redemption at the end…if you believe you can do it.
Baseball history is full of great comebacks. I think that’s a great lesson in life. Be calm, don’t over-worry. Good things can happen if you persevere. Nothing’s final or official until it’s final or official.
Or as Jim Murray, the old sportswriter, used to say: “When you think everything is hopeless, just remember Yogi Berra.”
— Yogi Berra, from his book When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!
Everyone will face adversity. Everyone will go through dark times. But one of life’s most valuable lessons is to remember that things are usually toughest right before a breakthrough moment. The moment when it seems like things can’t get any worse is usually the moment when a breakthrough is about to occur…IF you will continue fighting and believing.
It’s easy to start strong on a journey. Everybody can do that because everybody is excited and hopeful when they first start attacking a new goal. But champions are defined by how they handle the inevitable adversity along the way. Everyone starts strong, but champions finish strong.
When things get tough, remember Yogi’s famous quote: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Finish strong, believe in yourself, and don’t stop persevering.