Grace, Gratitude, Grit & Growth in Tough Times

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When his labs and factory burned to the ground on December 10th in 1914 after an enormous explosion blew up in West Orange, New Jersey, Edison reacted with a shocking response. Ten of the twenty buildings in Edison’s plant were already fully engaged and treasured buildings were being torched in a flurry of flames when Edison arrived at the scene. Gathered with hundreds of bystanders and shocked staff, Edison signaled his devastated son to go get his mother and all of their friends and tell them to come quickly because they’ll never see a fire like this again!

While most of us would see devastation and fire’s destruction in massive flames that filled the evening sky, Edison chose to lean into gratitude and see possibilities. The famous entrepreneur may have understood how our physiology supports such extravagant kinds of courage. Or he may have intuited how gratitude increases our serotonin (the brain’s aha chemical for well-being) to help us access and awaken grace! Either way Edison teaches us mind-bending lessons about grace, gratitude and grit to grow in tough times. So why do we often lose perspective when storms rain on our parade?

In contrast to serotonin our brains also come with dangerous cortisol toxins that trigger stress and are triggered by tough times. You likely guessed it. Cortisol too often fuels anxiety where we lose our calm as it distorts our view with panic. Simply stated, cortisol keeps us regretting our losses and thereby blinds us from finding a prosperous and trusted path forward into new beginnings. When we face difficult dilemmas our mindset becomes the binoculars we can choose to see bright perspectives ahead. Mindset also shapes our choices and determines our actions.

Panic and worry can cause us to toss hopelessness into our own fires and so it’s no wonder we can expect such actions to fuel and ignite even more of the same seemingly hopeless problems.

Fortunately, there are amazing ways such as grace, gratitude and grit that can equip us to face the chaotic and cruel worlds we sometimes encounter. When we lean into gratitude for instance, we’ll awaken agape grace, and in that robust force we’ll also grow grit to prosper in tough times just as Edison advance beyond losing more than half his entire plant to a massive fire on that 1914, December 10th evening.


Grace Mindset Book – audio

Grace Mindset Book – paperback

The Teen’s Growth Mindset Workbook – paperback

Growth Mindset Interactive Materials at TPT

Mita (Growth Mindset) Strategies in Class and Beyond

Student Assessment that Works – a Practical Approach