A lot has been written lately about how to be successful. That is, the social scientists have recently done studies on what really makes successful people successful. Is it their intelligence, their physical strength, their good looks, maybe their talent? But recently, what researchers are pointing towards more and more is not the tangible assets you possess but the intangible asset of Grit.

What is Grit? Grit is simply the ability to draw a line in the sand and then stand your ground. It is where you draw the line in the sand and decide not to back up past it. It is where you draw the line in the sand and decide not to let anyone else cross it. Grit is the ability to repeatedly fight and win small battles of the will. It is the ability of your mature self to win small battles over the immature child within yourself first and then the ability to stand up for what is right when faced with real or seemingly unfair people/situations in your environment.
Some examples in basketball are:

Not allowing the referees to get under your skin.
Not allowing an opponent or teammate to get under your skin.
Not allowing yourself to feel like a failure because your actions are criticized by a coach.
Making sure you get your work done every day, and get it done early.
Being the person who, decides to bring energy to practice when there isn’t any.
Being the provider of, and not the consumer of praise.
Being committed to carrying your own weight plus part of someone else’s too.
Working harder than everyone else in every drill and on every play

What is Gripe? Gripe on the other hand is the inability to stand your ground. It is your propensity to blame others for your problems instead of taking a good look at your internal self and your own actions. Gripe is the inability to win battles with the immature child within you. Gripe is the action of laziness, of giving in when it just starts to get hard.

In basketball, gripe is:
Allowing the referees to determine who the best players are.
Allowing the crowd to get into your head.
Allowing criticism to affect how you see yourself
Bringing low energy to a game or practice because you feel underappreciated.
Not being thankful and blessed that you have the ability to play or coach this sport.
Being jealous of others who play more than you do.

We can conjure up many more examples of course, but that is not the point. The point is that having grit is the intangible and internal disposition to stand your ground. This ability is above and beyond your talent, your looks, your education and your past accomplishments. Grit is not something that another person can give to you. It really has nothing to do with how motivated you are. Instead, it is something you give to yourself by being challenged and being open to work through those challenges on a regular basis.

In your faith walk, grit is something that God gives you through grace. It is the ability to stand your ground in your covenant relationship with God. It is the grace to resist falling against temptation. It is the strength of martyrdom, the ability to be joyful amidst trials and tribulations. Grit is the ability to make your baptismal vows, a profession of faith and a good confession, both in words and in actions.

Be motivated to increase your grit, not your gripe!


  1. Where in my basketball life do I need more grit?  Where in my spiritual life do I need more grit?