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Picture this: you are waiting to hear the keynote speaker at a conference. You don’t know who he is, but the room is abuzz. “This guy has never failed. Everything he touches is gold,” everyone tells you. Would you want to hear him speak? I’m not so sure I would.

Character and wisdom are sculpted over time. They come with loss, lessons, and triumphs. They come after doubts, second guesses, and unknowns. If there was a definitive path to success, everyone would be on it.

The drive is the story, and the story is in the grit.

We love reading about the early days of Pixar and how Steve Jobs bought it from George Lucas on the cheap. We love hearing how Pixar, as we know it, almost never was but for the efforts, beliefs, and sheer will of a group of people in the face of unfathomable odds.

That’s where the story is. That’s where legends are created.

We aren’t as interested in a story where everything just happened to work out. We watch movies and read books to be inspired by someone overcoming obstacles, leaping a hurdle, and coming out the other side. Why? Because we want to relate to someone who has struggles similar to our own. We need reassurance that we are not failures simply because we don’t know all of the answers.

Who wants to hear a story about someone who was handed everything, who never struggled, who never iterated, who never evolved, and yet anything he touched turned to gold? Without a struggle of some sort, where do lessons learned come from? Where does perspective come from? Where does moxie come from?

Progress in life is directly proportional to the dirt under our fingernails. Let’s call the dirt, the grit factor, “g.”

(Usefulness of your Idea + Luck + Connections)*g = Success

Success comes from the strife we endure and the effort we exude.

It is said that we are at our happiest when we are attempting something difficult but attainable. It is that unknown, yet reachable, territory that excites us. It’s a magical place.

It’s necessary to eat a face full of grit every now and then. It keeps us level. We always learn something along the way so no honest endeavor is ever a wasted one. It didn’t work out as planned? You’re life isn’t going according to your “If Everything Were Perfect” memoir? I say good riddance!

The story is in the grit.

Struggling when chasing a dream reminds you that you need people to lean on and that we need to vent, regroup, relax, reset, rethink, retry, and get ready to fight all over again. Our story will be a much better read when it’s all said and done. Moments of clarity in my life have always presented themselves after periods of uncertainty.

Embrace the suck. Enjoy the grit. It’s good for us. It will make us better. And if we’re not trying to get better every day, shame on us.


Bassam Tarazi is the creator of a motivational framework, Colipera, which utilizes the notion: collective inspiration + personal accountability; Together, be better. Bassam is also the author of The Accountability Effect, a free e-book that has been downloaded over 5,000 times. Bassam conducts goal setting classes, corporate & group Colipera sessions and 1-on-1 coaching for those with 9-to-5’s through his “Maximize Your 5-to-9” program. Bassam can also be followed on Twitter.