How to Be a Man of True Grit

When John Wayne bellowed his first lines in the movie True Grit, you knew that Mattie Ross had found the man to hunt down her father’s killer, and bring him to justice. There was power in Wayne’s voice, though his words were few, and force in his stature. And nothing would stop this man once he had a goal in his sights. Not another man, nor the law he was charged with upholding.

We admire men with grit, without ever really knowing what it means to possess it.

How To Be A Man of True GritAlpha Male John Wayne

Grit, as a personality trait, isn’t just a synonym of persistencetoughness, and ambition, but a culmination of them. And yet, grit is more. It’s everything mentioned, but with the addition of passion.

Grit is a man passionate towards a long term goal, and his resilience on the road to achieving it. Just as the great warrior – Alexander the Greatfor example – had grit, so does the entrepreneur. The man trying to lose 30 pounds needs grit to lose that weight, just like the boxer needs it to win the title, and to keep it.

Rocky Marciano had true grit, as did Joe Louis. Churchill and Napoleon had it in spades. Grit separates the strong from the weak, the courageous from the fearful.

Although grit is a focused man on a mission, it isn’t the hot shot rising to stardom, seeking fame. A man with true grit is stoic and silent in the face of his trials. He’s humble.

To be a man of true grit, is to be a man of relentless purpose, focus, and direction. To combine focus with perseverance and persistence, resilience and passion. Though your words may be few, they aren’t your voice, your actions are.

Stand on Solid Ground

To have a focus and a purpose that moves us forward in life is important, so are values that secure us so we’re not swayed by the ebbs and flows of life, but stand firm even amidst our greatest trials. A man can’t have grit if he doesn’t know his values. Nor can he move forward if he has no clue of the platform on which he stands.

A man who values hard work, for example, won’t give in to laziness when success finds him. A man who values service, won’t become selfish when service turns difficult. Our values may evolve, but they shouldn’t change. They’re who we are. We’re ambitious once, and should be ambitious always. We’re tough now, and will bring that toughness into every area of our lives until we kick the bucket.

A man who knows both where he stands, and where he’s going, is a man with true grit. To have both qualities is rare. If you ask someone what they’re values are, more often than not, they stumble, stutter, and ask for an example. The same happens when you ask someone where they’re going, and what they’re doing in life.

The majority of us live on autopilot. We take what comes our way, and we deal with it. Those with grit, however, make life deal with them. Indecision, fear, and a lack of direction have no place in their hearts or minds.

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  • Spence

    This was an awesome article! I cant say for sure weather I have true grit right now, but let me tell you, I will damn well be working towards it. I really like that quote from aristotle that you mentioned, and it is something you can relate to anything in life. Excellence is not an act, but a habit – words to live by. Thanks chad! By the way, True Grit (the old one, not the new one) is my favorite movie.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Thanks man – great movie indeed!

  • http://www.acalltoaction.net/ Trevor Wilson

    Awesome post Chad!

    Grit is about determined character. Driving purpose. Self-reliance. And you can never possess grit without strength. It’s what gives power to those gritty few.

    It’s a rare virtue these days. Grit doesn’t fit in with our modern pursuit of instant gratification. Persistence is the backbone of grit . . . and it’s sorely lacking in today’s culture.

    Cheers!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Well said man, and thanks! “Grit doesn’t fit in with our modern pursuit of instant gratification.” Agree. Grit is something you have forever, not on a brief rise, or for a short time.

  • Lowie

    This post has become my new mission statement……….Thank you!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      That’s awesome!

  • Ranger85

    First message I ever left. Just felt compelled to say it is a great article. Thanks

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Honored. Thanks for passing on the kind words.

  • Brad

    Chad, great post. As always you seem to hit the nail on the head. Something I can truly ponder on and put into action. When thinking of the points you made one cannot help but stop their busy lives and genuinely think and organize thoughts regarding where they are and where they are going. Keep ‘em going!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Hey Brad, I really appreciate it man – thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.halasz Chris Halasz

    Chad, I always enjoy your posts. I think the most difficult thing about having and sustaining “grit” or any other focused, purposeful “warrior-ness” is that the general society doesn’t support or encourage such ideals. I know in my own life that I have great aspirations, but without the support network it is easy to fall back into lazy, uninspired, “general population” type behaviors. I believe that the key is, as you were saying here, to live your values regardless of the 98% that don’t understand or see the value in them. Of course that means to have incredible strength to swim against this massive current!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Very well said Chris. I just finished reading Self Reliance, but Emerson, great book that goes along with this article, and your comment here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meximanjones Justin Salinas

    Hey Chad this is my first time commenting. I have been following you for a little while now. Excellent article once again. I wanted to let you know that I have dedicated this year to transforming who I am as a man, husband, and future father. Your articles have been not only encouraging but also an inspiration and challenge. I have already met a goal this year of losing 30 pounds and have changed not only how I eat but how I look at myself and my life. Your posts have helped me push through and stay focused on my goals. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Justin that’s so cool to hear man, honored to be a small part of your success.