Advocacy Mindset: True Grit!

To me, grit is one of the most important traits of them all.

However, I like to distinguish between two kinds of grit or tenacity which is stupid tenacity and smart tenacity.

If you do something and you do not get the result that you expected, it’s commendable to keep trying.

However, after a point, you have three choices, and two of them are bad. One is to keep doing the same thing year after year without really tracking your progress.

These people have stupid grit. They use phrases like “these things take decades” and “I’ve been doing this for years”.

To quote the Clash, “If you’ve been trying for years, we ‘ready heard your song.”

On the other hand, those who try a limited number of times and then just give up are also equally wrong. They say phrases such as “this is a motoring country”.

The third, and correct approach is to see what went wrong, to really one’s approach and the situation then to try again.

Our friend, the book _Mindset_ has some further insight into grit.

First, they talk about growth which means that one seeks to better oneself. The biggest attitude, in the cycling world, which is anti-growth is the notion of experts. An expert is all ready done, has no where to go, and will no longer grow. Thus, is the Zen cliche, “beginner’s mind” where we seek to always see things in a fresh way. We also always realize that we can learn more. This is super important and can’t be emphasized enough because once we freeze into an expert mode, we stop learning and keeping up with modern discoveries.

Another trait is resilience. This means that we continue to act in a skillful manner even when things do not go our way.

Next is intensity which is focus on the task at hand. One way to tell how well an organization is doing is how focused they are on their core mission. If it can’t be summarized in a few words then the organization is probably all over the place. For example, one disorganized organization claimed that they wanted to make “cycling better”. A more effective organization would focus on one thing such as infrastructure.

Finally, tenacity, like I spoke of before, is paramount. You know someone lacks grit whenever they speak in terms of being uncomfortable. Gritty people focus on their mission no matter how difficult things are.

Comfort is for losers!


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