Be Strong!

Bravery, courage and grit

In an earlier post, I discussed that bravery is a red zone activity, it is the fight part of the fight/flight mechanism.

In the same post, I talked about courage being an integral part of the developing blue zone, as such, it develops as part of us – it cannot be willed or argued into existence. Courage is a ‘gift of grace’ – it is nurtured by people outside of us. With courage, we can stay out of the red zone.


Grit is defined as “a personality trait possessed by individuals who demonstrate passion and perseverance toward a goal despite being confronted by significant obstacles and distractions. Those who possess grit are able to self-regulate and postpone their need for positive reinforcement while working diligently on a task.”

It seems that grit is functionally similar to courage. In both cases we can stay at our best – confident, collaborative and creative – despite obstacles.

In the literature discussing grit there are various techniques to improve this trait which are clearly helpful (for example developing a growth mindset, learning to avoid distractions) but it does beg the question where does the initial ‘spark’ come from?

I would argue that this spark is courage and without courage, grit cannot achieve its effects.

Therefore, we need the human relationships that develop courage in students and colleagues and we need practices that help us overcome learned bad habits or develop new, good habits.

Courage plus effort.

John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.

John Corrigan