We live in a blessed country. For decades, we have enjoyed the fruits of our economic prosperity from oil and gas. There is hardly any evidence of poverty on our streets and the government takes great care of its people by providing most of life’s basic necessities which are heavily subsidised. When I hear the word “grit”, I often think of my friends from Hong Kong who work round the clock to hand in a project the next day. I am reminded of the graphic images of the Pinoys who rebuilt their homes using coconut leaves after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. I think of the hawkers on the street of Bangkok hustling from the early hours of the morning with their babies latched on to their sides, simply trying to make a living. Hardly, can I relate the word grit to my experiences in Brunei.
So, why does Grit matter?
Michelle Obama recently made a poignant commencement address that is relevant to our discussion. She recalled that she’d encountered students who had very privileged lives – : their parents paid for their tuition; they lived in beautiful campus dorms and possessed everything that a college kid could want. But when some of them got their first bad grade, they just fell apart. “Because they were ill-equipped to handle their first encounter with disappointment or falling short.”
As a nation, there are times when we will encounter crises and setbacks that may knock us our feet that are far worse than a bad grade. This economic downturn is a case in point. Our generation has never really been tested by any drastic circumstances. Complacency can only make us less competitive and it is not acceptable in this hyper connected world because our very own survival will depend on how competitive and resilient we are.
In this issue, we examined some important questions:
• How do you harness grit and resilience?
• What do you do when things don’t work out as planned?
• How do you bounce back from adversity?
Despite the in-depth research and interviews, we still do not have all the answers. However, we do know this much, as Michelle Obama said, “you need to pick yourself up and dust yourself and to keep moving forward through the pain, keep moving forward.”
That, my friend, is the mark of a gritty person and the foundation of a great nation – one that will prosper for many generations to come.