My daughter played in her first volleyball game of the season the other night. This is her senior year, and she a captain on the team, so she wants to have a good year. Her team won a hard fought match, but my daughter was disappointed with her performance. Her serving, passing, and defense was consistent, but she struggled with hitting. Her hitting started strong, but she got blocked a few times in a row early on and from that point on her hitting game changed.
She held back.
I told her the next time she gets a shot blocked she needs to come right back and hit it at the same girl even harder, and to continue to do so until she forces that person to make an error or miss a block. Her opponent needs to learn quickly that she has no intention of quitting or holding back. She needs to transfer the doubt from her head into her opponent's head. If that tactic does not work and she gets taken out of the game, it won’t be for lack of effort.
The summer before I started my doctoral studies at Oklahoma State University, I was in Oklahoma on business and took the time to travel to Stillwater to try to meet some of the faculty in the program. I met briefly with Raj Basu, the only professor in the office at the time of my visit.
Raj told me he had recommended that I NOT be accepted into the Ph.D. program because he felt my GMAT scores were too low. He did me a huge favor by being brutally honest with me. I left Stillwater that day discouraged, but I returned in the fall determined. In every class I took, I looked around the room on the first day and told myself that every one of the other students were probably smarter than me, but not a single one of them was going to work harder than me. It was grit, not intelligence that got me through the program.
Grit is like a muscle – it can be developed with consistent and focused effort. But if you don’t use it, you can lose it.
Don’t hold back. You can’t win every time, but don’t lose for lack of effort. Learn from your mistakes and get back in the game more determined than ever.
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