Are you Gritty? Five Things I Want my Son To Know

Everyone desires happiness and success, but do you have what it takes?

More times than not people are all too willing to give up when the going gets tough. They stop, change direction, and quit. The road to success is a narrow one. It is narrow for a reason. Not everyone has the courage or the fortitude to persist when the going gets tough.

That said, I believe the real reason people fail is because they lack GRIT.

According to the experts, “The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.” 

What do gritty people know? How do they approach life? Here are the five things I want my son to know and do as he grows into a man.

1 . Success and Happiness: It’s A Marathon, Not a Sprint!

We live in a world obsessed with quick fixes and easy results. Very few things in life really worth achieving or having happen quickly.  If you are not enjoying your life — your journey– it might be time to change direction. But, don’t stop prematurely. Many times the breakthrough comes when we are at the point of wanting to quit. You’ll want to quit. Don’t!

2. Accept Where You Are. It takes time and patience to achieve success. The first step is to acknowledge your starting point. You want to lose 10 pounds? Begin by accepting the process might take some time. You are more likely to lose the weight safely and keep it off. Only after you acknowledge and accept where you are can you set a realistic goal.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others – We live in a world of social networks. It is entirely too easy to look at what your peers are doing and become depressed or discouraged. In fact research reveals heavy Facebook users are more like to report dissatisfaction with their own lives. Recognize what you are seeing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is only one small slice of a person’s life. It cannot and does not capture all of the ups and downs. Focus on your own journey. Do NOT compare yourself to others. Understand you are exactly where you need to be in this moment.

4. Never Stop Learning. Real success comes from a desire to always learn. The desire to want to improve yourself. No one can do this for you. The motivation to do better must come from within. If you lack sustainable motivation ask yourself why. Are you engaged in activities you really enjoy? While we are not going to enjoy every task we need to complete in order to achieve our goal, we should enjoy the overall process. What skills do you need to learn in order to keep moving forward? Go out and learn them!

5. Never stop trying  – Sister Catherine McAuley said it best, “Resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow”. If you are not where you want to be in life only YOU can fix it. Resolve in your heart and in your head to make it better. Enjoy your journey, do better tomorrow, and have fun!

I will leave you with one of my all time favorite movie speeches. If you haven’t seen it, take a few minutes and indulge. You might find a little inspiration too.


“Now, if you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying: You ain´t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain´t you! You´re better than that!”

Find Your Passion in Three (not so) Easy Steps

It always surprises me when I ask students what they are passionate about and I receive a blank stare. Instead of enthusisam, I receive a stare filled with confusion and conflict. In a split second the student experiences an existential crisis of sorts. “Passionate? Interests? What do you mean, Dr. Marcello?”

Knowing what you are passionate about is not very common. Maybe because there is no right answer. Maybe because no one ever asked. Perhaps because we haven’t the courage to ask ourselves and really listen to the answers. Identifying what makes you come alive isn’t something many people do. It isn’t a luxury to ask yourself the questions. I think it is a necessity. 

As an educator, I want my students leaving my classroom with a better understanding of those things which bring them joy and happiness. Those activities which make their spirits come alive. 

The world needs more people who are passionate about what they do each and every day. People who are dedicated to creating a full life for themselves. Because when we are fulfilled and happy we positively influence everyone around us.

What this looks like will vary considerably from person to person. 

Finding your passion means taking responsibility for your life. There are many people who have no desire to do take on this challenge.  But, if you are tired of being tired with life, begin by asking yourself three really important questions:

1) What do I want my life to look like?

2) What contributions can I make?

3) If I only had five years to live, what would I want to do everyday?

Time is an illusion. We do not know how long we’ve got. Life is short. Don’t let it pass you by without activity being involved.

Over the years, I’ve noticed some students resent the prodding, the questions. Who cares, they think. I just want a grade. I just want a paycheck. Tell me what to do. Tell me how to do it. I don’t have the time or energy to think about it.

I have discovered in order to identify what I truly love, I needed to spend time alone and with other people. I need to reflect but I also need to share. Becoming quiet and reflecting is more important now than ever before because of the incessant hum of technology.

Equally, sharing with others brings forth new ideas, new dreams, and new possibilities. 

Start today by asking the important questions and listen to your heart

When do you come alive?

When are you excited with possibility?

The answers just might provide you a glimpse into what your life can be. A tiny glimpse into the kind of life you can create. And believe me, you can create it. I know because I did. Anything is possible.

You just have to BELIEVE.

Remember: the smallest step in the right direction just might change your life.