This feels like a big idea, but I’m pressed for time so let’s put a quick pin in it here and maybe essay this later.
I’m interested in management theory, and productivity, and all that stuff, and “grit” has been on my mind for a while. It’s been around for a while, too. I don’t know how somebody relabeled “tenacity” and made a ton of money off of that, but well done, whoever.
But I don’t think it’s grit.
I’ve been listening to Off Book again recently — it’s an improvised musical podcast, pretty great — and the episode that’s sadly behind a paywall now, because I think everyone should listen to it, is “Pump the Stakes” with Jon Gabrus. Here’s a sliver:
In brief, the podcast is hosted by two preposterously talented people who make up a musical every week on the spot with a guest. They can rhyme, they can sing, they can do it all. In the Pump The Stakes episode, their special guest is comedian Jon Gabrus.
Jon Gabrus is not a singer. I’m not throwing shade, here — he’s very up front about that. Jon Gabrus is not a singer. He’s also not a human rhyming dictionary.
What Jon Gabrus is, though, and this is what I’m getting at with the “grit” thing, is game.
The more I move forward in life and in my career, the more I find that being game is possibly the most important thing to position yourself not for success alone, but for that special space where success is paired with actually enjoying your life and your job.
Being game is not being a singer but going on an improvised musical podcast and giving it. Being game is not being a dancer but not hiding in the last row on stage, and instead just putting it out there with every move you know. Being game is routinely getting outside your comfort zone, but with, well, joy.
That’s all I got for today, but there’s something to this, I think. It’s not about grit, really, it’s about being game; life isn’t a grim plodding march to the finish, it’s a dance, so why not lean into it?