A few years ago I snapped this photo in a rural town outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The photo is of a father who despite his own poverty and struggle walks to this dirt lot that has three brick structures all built by himself and other parents. They not only built these brick school buildings but also made the bricks. Every day as these parents face the challenges of an underdeveloped country they walk their children to school and build their school. Amazing. How do people with so much struggle have such an undefinable spirit?

At this year’s Global Leadership Summit Bill Hybels opened with a session on the “The 5 Intangibles of Leadership” with the first being that great leaders have grit. Hybels referenced a Grit study and test from The Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences.

One of the definitions of GRIT is an “indomitable spirit.”  It’s when a person is incapable of being overcome by any adversity or challenge. They have grit.

I quickly took the GRIT test and I scored a 4.63 out of 5, which means I have more GRIT than 90% of the country. I wasn’t surprised by the findings but was intrigued by trying to understand where GRIT comes from. What fuels my GRIT?

That Kenyan father has an amazing level of GRIT but also noticed he had an unlimited amount of gratitude. He was thankful for what he had and it propelled him to fight through anything that might discourage that attitude.

I have come to realize that I believe the fuel of GRIT is gratitude. When we have a grateful soul for what we have, we are willing to persevere through great adversity. I am grateful for my wife and our children. I am thankful for my role as a pastor and teacher. I am blessed with amazing friendships that pour into me. I am grateful and it propels me through challenges. I am fueled by what I have in grace from a God that loves me despite my flaws.
I have gratitude. I have fuel. I have GRIT.