True Grit, some may remember this as a movie, or movies. First made in 1969 and starring John Wayne and directed by Henry Hathaway. John Wayne won his only Oscar for this film. The film was remade again in 2010, starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), hires “Rooster” Cogburn (John Wayne) because she believes he has “true grit” to hunt down the killer of her murdered father. And so, the story unfolds.


I bring up this concept of true grit in one of my learning programmes and some of my clients are puzzled why it takes up so much space and time. True grit in the case of this programme is called discipline and self-sacrifice and is included in the module of personal development.

This programme was originally conceived to fill a gap to develop young graduate interns in a number of industries who weren’t ‘work ready’; ironically, we discovered, together with the learning and development and operations managers of these organisations, that many entrenched management, fell into the same category – not exactly not ‘work ready’ but displaying serious personal development deficits that presented barriers to further personal and career growth.

One of these was the lack of understanding that to succeed at anything you have to keep on going no matter what, in other words, you must apply true grit.

I use many analogies from the world of sport, as this is what people generally relate to: blood, sweat and tears, but I also describe the brain mechanics of positive thinking attitudes and how this affects one’s ability to aim for success.

So, I happen to find this recently on one of my favourite daily websites I subscribe to and decided to share it with you:

“The Theory of “Grit”
as a Predictor of Success in Life”

It was written by Thomas Oppong and you can follow his blog too:


Here are a few of the highlights of his article in Medium:

  • Beyond IQ, talent, and whatever else has any kind of effect on anything, what most affects your ability to achieve your goals is grit. 
  • The only person that can really push you a little bit further in life is yourself.  
  • The only person that can really push you a little bit further in life is yourself. 
  • Grit is associated with perseverance, resilience, ambition, and the need for achievement. It involves maintaining goal focused effort for extended periods of time.
  • The ability to stick with and pursue a goal over a long period is an important indicator of achieving anything worthwhile in life. 
  • Grit takes time, and many people aren’t giving it. The cost of being the best and pushing towards meaningful work takes a lot of sacrifice.


These are important life lessons and I believe should be part of many soft skills learning programmes: Yes, PLOC is important, as is leadership styles and communication skills, but learning about how to apply oneself to the long, hard daily grind of life is as important.

My students and other participants who have been on my courses will have heard me go on about these topics; the life lessons NOT included in the majority of soft skills leadership/managerial programmes.

Contact me if you want to know more (083 284 3363) – Larry.

The website I found True Grit on is Medium Daily Digest (Google this name and select the App for mobile or a daily email feed to your computer). The site offers a range of topics you can select from. All items take about 5 to 10 minutes to read and are a change from all the dire daily news and disaster. I’d love to hear from you if you have subscribed and what you think about it. 




[My thanks to Medium Daily Digest and Thomas Oppong for the excerpts from the story]