Listening to the radio the other day I heard an actor being interviewed who was reflecting on his first major role.

Hired to be the lead in a musical the voice coach came in for the first day, asked the actor which of the two notes he had just played was higher and the actor got it wrong. “Tone deaf,” the vocal director pronounced.

Result was that the young actor was reduced to a supporting role, asked to only mouth the words during singing numbers, and a new lead was hired. Asked why he stayed on after the humiliation of being demoted, the young man replied, “Because I have grit”.

As all of you know who have had appointments with me, I continue to believe that it is not the experiences of our lives which really form us but the learning we get from those events.

GRIT, the True Grit of the one-eyed US Marshall in the 1969 movie played by John Wayne (who remarked after receiving the academy award that year, “Beginners luck”) or the multitude who grind their way out of poverty to success or from despair back to hope. What I know of every person who comes to see me is that they have a fundamental belief that they can have a better outcome from their life events than they are currently experiencing. “I don’t like how I’m behaving, don’t like what I’m feeling, want more out of my life, want to break free of what holds me back” are common refrains. Good, it’s all TRUE GRIT.

I am sure you all remember the famous quote of Present Calvin Coolidge, just joking, who said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not, nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

GRIT: Persistence, determination, courage, pluck… or a speck of dust in the eye?

Happy Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all I have learned from all of you.

Robert Collier