Grit: The Secret to Success

I think the best way to describe my mindset is “aanhouer wen” (perseverance pays off). It is a principle my Grandma taught me at a very young age.

As a kid growing up on a farm, my job was to sometimes collect firewood and bring it home. Close to the farmhouse, I think about 500m was a river, and along the river, acacia trees were growing. Regularly I was sent to the river to collect small pieces of firewood. At the time, I was 5 or 6 years old.

One day I decided to take the jigsaw with me to cut off a dead tree branch I saw on one of the acacia trees. To me, a bigger piece of wood would save me from making many trips to the river. It took me a while to cut off the branch, and once it was on the ground, I faced the challenge of dragging it home.

Since I was not strong enough, I could not carry the saw and drag the branch simultaneously. I first put the saw on top of the tree branch and tried to drag them both, but the saw kept falling off. So I came up with a new plan. I decided to carry the jigsaw 100 metres, placed it down in the footpath, and walked back to drag the tree branch 100 metres past the jigsaw and then walk back for the saw and carry it 100 metres past the tree branch. I repeated this process until I got home. My Grandma was so impressed when she saw what I did, and that evening praised me in front of my Grandpa.

Sometimes my Grandpa and uncle would collect and bring firewood home. My job was to cut it into smaller pieces. And this is where I developed the “aanhouer wen” (perseverance pays off) mindset. Since my Grandma had other tasks to complete, and my uncle and Grandpa would be busy until late on the farm, they relied on me to cut the wood into smaller pieces.

Cutting through tree stumps at the age of 5 or 6 with a jigsaw and splitting it into smaller pieces with an axe was always really hard work. My muscles would often burn, and when I complained to my Grandma, she would always tell me, “aanhouer wen.” She urged me to always keep trying, and that allowed me to complete my tasks. My reward afterwards was always praise, and I liked it. That not only helped developing grit, but it also developed my self-esteem.

For me, grit is the ability to keep pushing when everybody has given up and when the odds are against you. Grit is the ability to believe in the result even though circumstances are not in your favour. Grit believes in “I can do this” and transforming that into “I am doing this.” Grit is developing an unwavering belief in your ability to do something when you put your mind to it. Grit is about hard work – showing up and continue working even though you do not feel like working.

Grit, for me, is “aanhouer wen” and the secret to success.

2 thoughts on “Grit: The Secret to Success

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: