A Special Gift for a Long Time

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Grit is usually described as having passion and perseverance for pursuing long-term goals. Having grit helps us pursue our goals in spite of obstacles and complications that get in the way. It supports the ability to be able to seek out individual passions, and do anything necessary to reach that goal. Long-term goals can be more difficult to reach if a person does not have grit. Without grit, it is easy to lose motivation and hope whenever something gets in the way. Grit helps us face those obstacles and find motivation through negative life events.

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I believe my mother, Mellody, is the exact definition of character and grit, because of the way she was able to recover from traumatic life events. She was able to take what little resources she grew up with, and turn it into something meaningful to her. To this day, my mother continues to push towards her dreams. She, of course, has doubts like any other person does, on whether she can achieve those dreams. However, she does not let go of the idea that she can accomplish something great. My mother finds motivation and reasons to keep going despite what she has gone through… There have been times where she could only rely on no one but herself. Because she has grit, she is able to look past the negative and continue pushing and working for things she wants in life. She has not given up and will continue to aim for better.

It inspires me to see the light in my mother’s eyes when she is recalling an old memory from her past. Despite the negativity, she always tries to see what good has come out of it. She grew up very poor with two siblings, and with an emotionally distant mother. She often recalls times where they did not have dinner to eat, meals were shared, or when they would not have heat in their cold Chicago home. When she speaks of this, she still speaks with pride. She is grateful for her experiences growing up because it prepared her for the harsh realities of adulthood today. She became appreciative and learned to be grateful for what she has now because it is way more than she had as a child. Growing up with very little has motivated her to work towards “the impossible” to get to a stage where she is comfortable, emotionally and financially. People with distinct interests and passions are more likely to have a clear sight of what exactly it is they want in life. My mother knows exactly what it is she wants in life if she were to have the opportunity to get it. Ten years ago, her goal was working towards expanding our family home so my sisters and I can grow up in a nicer neighborhood. She wanted us to have a place that we owned, with our own rooms and space to grow up in. As she crossed that goal off her list, she now wishes to start her own food truck business. When she speaks about her dreams, age is never an obstacle for her. She believes she has as much time as she needs to pursue her business because of how passionate she is about it.

The big five personality factors all work together to help predict achievement and overall success in a person’s life. Out of all the five personality traits, I can say that my mother displays mostly perseverance and resilience. She has perseverance because she continues to push and aim higher for herself and her family, despite numerous factors that make it difficult. One of the many factors that have been slowing down the progress for my mother to achieve her own food truck business is money. The lack of funds makes it harder to get her business started. Due to this reason, she has looked into taking out a loan and researching grants that may be available to first-time business owners. Right now she is looking into doing what she can at the moment, like becoming certified to sell, getting her food handlers license, etc. She is worried that because she is often late on mortgage payments, she will not be able to qualify for a loan to pursue this dream of hers. This, however, does not stop her from having hope. One of the many things she has told me is that she is amazed at how far she has come, although she has had to struggle to get to where she is today. There have been many times where certain situations could have taken a turn for the worse, but it never has. Every year it seems as if my mother gets hit with new obstacles left and right. She still keeps going and pushes past the suffering.

About four years ago, my mother received a very serious phone call from my cousin with bad news of a death in the family. My mother’s brother had committed suicide at the age of thirty-seven. Around this same time was the anniversary of her mother’s death, who passed away from lung cancer years before. My mother now not only carries the weight of the death of one family member that was very close to her, but two. She often reflects on the death of my uncle and still breaks down to this day, but continues to keep pushing. She is very aware of how much everyone around her needs her. This is one of the many examples of what makes my mother a resilient person. She sets aside her own issues, to think of others. Imagine having to go through the grieving process, and still making sure your kids are well-fed, or that they had a ride home from school. You never stop being a mother no matter what you are going through. This negative experience that she went through is another example of why I think my mother has grit. People who have high levels of grit tend to reach their full potential because they are less discouraged by obstacles or failures. My mother did not give up because she was grieving. She went through the process and realized that death is just a cycle that everybody goes through. This unfortunate event did not set her back from what she truly believes in.

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