Ned Pepper: “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.”
Rooster Cogburn: “Fill your hands you sonofabitch.”
Charles Portis, True Grit
True Grit is a 1968 novel by Charles Portis. It is told from the perspective of Mattie Ross, who recalls the time when she was fourteen and sought retribution for the murder of her father.
The novel was adapted to film in 1969. It starred John Wayne, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn. In the story, Mattie is convinced that Rooster Cogburn has “grit” and is best suited for the job of hunting down her father’s murderer.
Both the movie and the book are excellent. The quote above, and other great dialogue was lifted directly from the book and placed in the screenplay.
Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an expert on the subject of Grit. In fact, she thinks talent is overrated. More important, she suggests, is a blend of persistence and passion—grit. She believes that grit involves finding and fostering a purpose.
“Talent counts, [but] effort counts twice” says Duckworth.1
I have found that a certain measure of grit is a virtue. People who persevere against the odds have an advantage. I think of the great Winston Churchill, who stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
We all encounter challenges in life. These can take different forms. The form I deal with as a professional is the challenge of divorce. For most, divorce is a major life event. It can bring inordinate amounts of stress. With the stress, some are afflicted with self-doubt. They wonder how they are going to make it through the process, and what life is going to be like on the other side. For these folks and for everyone else, I suggest the importance of “grit”.