Passport to Purpose

Passport to purpose: how gritty are you?

By Jan Joslin | September 9, 2022


The university’s strategic plan for 2020-2025 outlines how Charleston Southern University prepares servant leaders to pursue significant lives. By equipping students with a biblical worldview, competencies to perform at the highest levels, godly character, and experiences to grow their grit, CSU’s mission includes guiding them to find their sweet spot in life.

COVID-19 lockdowns, isolation, financial worries, constant screen time, and more, has amplified the need for all of us, whether students or not, to grow our grit.

Another way to think of growing your grit is strengthening your perseverance, resilience, passion, resolve, and plain old stick-to-it-iveness. Growing your grit will produce far-reaching results whether you are sticking to a study plan, maintaining social distance, or preparing work projects. 

Writing in Forbes, Margaret M. Perlis asked readers, “5 Characteristics of Grit – How Many Do You Have?” She wrote, “In general, gritty people don’t seek perfection, but instead strive for excellence.” 

Perfectionism can be paralyzing. For some people, it means they never start the project. Today, focus on excellence by completing class assignments on time, meeting your work deadline, eating better, and exercising instead of coming up with an unrealistic plan that is doomed from the start.

The Bible has much to say about grit also. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). As Christians we are called to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Growing your grit is making sure you have the tools you need for whatever task or experience is before you. “What Would Peary Do?” in Down East Magazine describes how explorer Admiral Robert E. Peary survived in the Arctic. In the early 1900s, Josephine Peary, Peary’s wife, helped him prepare for his long excursions by sewing pockets into his long johns. Why? Those pockets provided a place to store his navigational instruments and keep them from freezing.

We might not be setting out to explore the Arctic, but we need to add tools to our lives that will help us succeed now and in the long-term.