Lessons in Resilience for Turbulent Times
The need to “shelter in place” brings with it no small amount of frustration, but also opportunities. Among the latter is a chance to read, to contemplate, and to observe. In doing so, the Army, the Navy, an author/researcher, and a terrier offer some interesting and timely lessons.
I read with interest an article in the Wall Street Journal (Journal Report: C-Suite Strategies) by Lauren Weber titled “How the Navy Revamped Boot Camp.” On the heels of two fatal accidents at sea, the Navy realized the need to re-tool its training protocol for new recruits. One significant change was an increased focus on training for resilience and perseverance.
In her 2016 bestselling book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” researcher and professor Angela Duckworth cites the Grit Scale, a test taken during Beast Barracks by first year cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point to help determine their level of perseverance and focus in the face of adversity. According to Duckworth, a high level of determination when confronting obstacles is more likely to determine long term success than talent or intelligence alone. This “grit,” as Duckworth calls it, is found to be at work in some of the most notable examples of accomplishment in a wide range of endeavors. Duckworth further notes that perseverance, determination, and resilience are increasingly cited by recruiters as primary, essential traits when searching for job candidates at all levels.
That grit is a key to enduring success is on full display in many walks of life. Closer to home, one example is our 15-year-old Cairn Terrier, Roxie. Time and age have taken away a fair amount of her mobility and most, if not all, of her vision. Yet her sense of smell is sharp, her hearing never more acute. She finds her way around the house using these and other remaining abilities in a way that is quite remarkable. I asked her veterinarian about this and she was not at all surprised. Seems dogs are, by their very nature, resilient and adaptive. They work with what they have, and they do so without complaint. Grit.
Maybe Alfred, Lord Tennyson said it best (Ulysses):
“Tho’ we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”
Something to think about during these times of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and unprecedented obstacles. A true and all too real test of our individual and collective leadership, perseverance, resilience, and determination: our grit.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.