True grit may require a stable connection with one’s true self, an inner stability, to cope with a world that is inevitably chaotic, full of uncertainty, adversity, and fluctuations. But while “existential courage” is certainly important for recovering from the inevitable stressors of daily life, this alone is not enough for being satisfied with your life. When grit is driven by your authentic soul, and a prosocial purpose, you, friend, are one unstoppable hero! Contributed by Scott Barry Kaufman 2016
In my new book, My Maja, I explore the territory connected to the source and essence of the life force what I came to call by several names.
Over the course of her lifetime I point to several “breakdowns” that each individually and collectively required great inner resourcefulness to mount a recovery. In 1925, she bore the pain of accepting the death of a newborn son. In 1932, her young husband fell to her feet while 3 young children witnessed his fatal heart attack. In 1940, dark depression overwhelmed the widow from the stress and strain of being a widow, mother, breadwinner all alone to fight the rigors of the Great Depression. In 1949 she traveled to a cemetery, drank poison and nearly took her life in an act of suicide.
I met, My Maja in 1948 on the day I was born at Illinois Central Hospital in Chicago. My family rented the house next door to Grandma’s house. We fell in love. Maja became my best friend and mentor. Our amazing relationship lasted 21 years. Maja, through hundreds of hours of unpacking her formula for what we came to call her, framatanda, explained how her background contributed to her “super resilience” that empowered her gritty and resourceful stubborn tenacity.
Grandma did her mentoring about Framatanda grittiness without revealing her family secrets-skeletons hidden in her closet. I was a good student and for as long as I can remember, I inherited her grit, gumption and resilience and put it into practice not only in my own need to bounce forward when adversity knocked me down, but applied her wisdom to share with others.
Grandma’s resilience of the heart was especially gritty because she could maximize it and best put it to work when it was targeting the benefit for others. To serve others over self was inherited from many Swedish generations that practiced that value with intention. Life fulfillment for Maja meant accomplishing her Swedish American Dream. Her dream was seeing her grown children as gritty, independent, resilient souls who could, at will, call upon, framåtanda to serve a higher purpose passed along to others.