How I Know I Will Succeed

The title of this post is a big claim. A BIG claim about this massive and massively challenging project. And honestly, I had trouble writing it down. I asked myself, “Do I really know I will succeed?” “Do I know I will summit these 13 peaks in Canada?”

And then I struggled with the concept of success and this project for a bit.

What I realized is that I can confidently say “Yes! I will succeed.” And I believe Matt and Andrea will succeed too. I know this because we all have something called “grit.” As Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth puts it in her TED talk:

When I was seven I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in my lower cerebellum. I was sick and in pain and most-of-all uncoordinated. The lower cerebellum is where the spine connects with the brain and so a tumour there has a severe effect on motor control and a variety of other things. I’ve grown up my entire life facing massive difficulties and I’ve never quit.

When I was young I loved track and field. I joined my grade school team and would practise every morning. Every day I would get to school early to run laps with the team. As others finished they would go to play before class, while I was always left running even after the bell rang. My height of achievement was in my fourth and final year when I came in second last, it was the best I’d ever done. The experience almost broke my heart. I stopped running for a bit and explained to my Mom, “I’m tired of being in last place.”

But then I joined my high school’s rugby team and got right back in to running. Later I would run long-distances for fun and now I compete in CrossFit and am entering my first organized run since grade school.

When this project first started all I could focus on was the experience I didn’t have and the things I didn’t know. People would remark on the difficulty of the project and the dangers and I would listen and almost believe that those were key determinants in whether or not I and this team would succeed (read what my Mom said). Yes, this is a VERY difficult project. Yes, it is dangerous and will take us time.

A very knowledgable and wise person we met on our trip to Northern Ontario to summit Ishpatina Ridge reminded me that we have something that will carry us through this project — spirit. We have grit, the “disposition to pursue very long-term goals with passion and perseverance.”

I know there will be moments where I want to quit. I know that this project will push me harder than anything else in my life. I also know that I want this more than anything. I believe that I will find myself in this process and I believe that is what you call “grit.”

Watch Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and never miss an update.

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