GRIT: Failing as the Key to Success?

The two young men you see below grew up in my church and both display some serious GRIT.  The first was born with no arms and has overcome countless challenges since birth.  The second suffered a debilitating diving accident as a teenager and was forced to relearn everything that had once come so naturally.  Both situations require grit which, as a personality trait, Wikipedia describes as the “….powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.”  Check out their stories, then continue reading below.


Like so many others, these stories are inspirational and they force us to put our own lives in perspective and realize we take so much for granted.   Life can be hard and we complain about it.  Sometimes things seem so overwhelming that we feel we cannot possibly be successful, so why even bother trying?  We see this over and over again in all aspects of our lives.

When applied to the school setting, we see that students and teachers presented with challenges that can be really difficult.  What happens as a result?  Often students act out in frustration, teachers quit, or worse, everyone just stops making any effort.  If grit is so important, how do we develop it in our students and staff?  How do we teach the desire to work hard and persevere when things seem overwhelming?  Here are 5 suggestions shared by Erin Stewart from her article in the Deseret News entitled 5 Ways to Raise a Child with Grit.

1. Don’t let them quit.

2. Let them fail, and see you fail too.

3.  Praise their effort.

4.  Let them solve their own problems.

5.  Foster a “growth mindset”.

We must set up a system where we want to continue to learn from our repeated failures instead of being judged by our mistakes.


Ms. Stewart’s full article is cited below.




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