The Road To Perseverance

Grit Makes it Happen

There are Many Forks in The Road..But it All Leads to the Same Destination

Many people demonstrate grit, but in different ways and situations. Slavery and segregation are two topics in which many people demonstrate this trait. Two people who really demonstrate grit are Olaudah Equiano and Minny Jackson. These people differ from each other, not only because one is fictional and one is not, but that that one is a man and one is a lady, and their lives take place in different eras, hence they have different difficulties to overcome. At the same time, one may find that they are alike in their personalities.

Olaudah Equiano was born around 1745 in what is now Nigeria. He was captured and sold into slavery as a child, buying his freedom in 1766. When he was freed, he wrote many books (his first published in 1789). He had lots of courage to write about his life during that time period, especially since his books stated his exact beliefs on slavery. This was a very dicey thing to do, especially since many would read his works.

Minny Jackson acted equally as gritty as Equiano. This woman was a fictional character in Kathryn Stockett's novel The Help who was a smart mouthed maid in the 1960's. She is always arguing with employers about wages, cleaning techniques, and most oftenly, human rights. Minny also helped Skeeter, a white journalist, and Aibileen, Minny's best friend and fellow maid, to write a story. She had extreme difficulty finding another job after doing a bad thing to her former employer, which is one of many adversities she has in her life.

Overall, these characters were more alike than one may think. They both strived for excellence when writing for a cause, and worked for liberty and justice for all, as the Pledge of Allegiance says. While slavery had been abolished for Minny and not for Equiano, segregation was still roaring in Jackson, Mississippi where Minny lived. They both had to fight for what was right in their own unique ways. Olaudah was owned by the ship captains when he was a slave, and Minny's employer owned her life, because she controlled her pay and hours. These people, as well as many others, demonstrated large amounts of grit in order to survive and thrive in a predominately white world.

Information taken from The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Olaudah Equiano, b. 1745 Summary Docsouth.unc.edu, and Oluadah Equiano Bio.com

Grit Ingrained on Ellen's Road to Fame

Ellen DeGeneres's dream wasn't always to be comedic. When she was younger, she wanted to become a veterinarian but she was dispirited because people didn't think she was book smart. This caused her to do other jobs, like selling vacuums and waiting tables. Her life was changed when she had a public speaking event. She was very intimidated by the audience, and used humor in order to survive the pressure. People were very pleased and gave her many offers to perform stand up comedy. Prior to this, her brother had always been the humorous one in the family, which is most likely why she didn't show her talents earlier.

She demonstrated great courage with this because if she had been paralyzed with fear in the same situation and opted out of it, she would have never been influenced by it to start a career in comedy. Ellen also demonstrated grit in that when she became famous, she raised awareness about being homosexual and encouraging others not to hide it either. The effect of this was that she married Portia de Rossi, further demonstrating that people are who they are and that expressing yourself is completely okay.

All of these factors play into the fact that Ellen DeGeneres is an inspiration to many people today. She persevered in all aspects, becoming an expert at something she had never previously experimented with and striving for greatness in that category. She defied odds of not being smart, since for her job it takes wit and cleverness to succeed. Overall, the outcome of all of Ellen's decisions in life and occupation payed off in the end.

Information taken from Ellen Degeneres Bio.com

Cancer was Her Flat Tire...Her Ambition was Her Spare

Kris Carr is a 44 year-old woman living with stage four cancer that is incurable. She was diagnosed with epitheloid hemangio endothelioma in her liver and lungs in 2003 at what started out as a regular checkup. She could have let this major obstacle be the end of her "good" and "normal" lifestyle and let the cancer eat her away, but she had too much grit to let that happen. Instead, she started a theme called Crazy Sexy Cancer and based a movie, a blog, and many books on it.

She stated that "Though I couldn't be cured, I could still be healthy-I could still participate in my well-being, feel good, love harder and enjoy my life more fully." This quote means that cancer gave her the initiative to live her life to the fullest. She started eating healthier and exercising more often, encouraging others to do the same. Kris wanted the best for others as much as herself, so most of her books have to do with healthy cooking, eating, and living.

She demonstrated grit because she had the resolve to keep going while being resilient about having the illness, too. She strived for excellence even on her darkest days, not trying to be perfect, but being the best that she could be.

Information taken from Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Wellness Kriscarr.com and 16 Wildly Successful People Who Overcame Huge Obstacles to Get There Huffingtonpost.com

From a Pickup Truck To A Maserati

Jim Carrey is another example of overcoming adversity. The main adversity he faced in his life was an inadequate amount of money in his family. "When he was 15 he had to drop out of school to support his family...they eventually had to start living in a van," as the Huffington Post explains. This means that since his father was an unemployed musician, he had to support his family. After a year of being a janitor, he started having his father drive him to a local comedy club, which is one of the most important decisions of his lifetime because it started the career he is still enjoying today. He made many movies in Hollywood once he was discovered, for example his first big hit was a movie made for television called Introducing...Janet. His hits just kept coming. Some examples of his other films (in the order they came out) were Finders Keepers, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Batman Forever, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, The Truman Show and Man on the Moon (these were the most important because he won a Golden Globe Award for each), Me, Myself, and Irene, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bruce Almighty, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Fun with Dick and Jane (which were both remakes). He portrays many characteristics of each character he conquers, such as being a crabby, self-centered monster in The Grinch and being engulfed in what his mask that is non removable at night does to him in The Mask. This allowed him to win awards for his acting. All in all, James Carrey had determination and ambition to achieve greatness when he started out as nothing in a poor family.

She Skidded, She Faltered, But She Never Yielded

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Barbados, a Caribbean Island. First, her childhood was difficult because her dad was addicted to alcohol and cocaine. At the same time, her parents' relationship was struggling. Meanwhile, Robyn suffered from crippling headaches in her childhood, but had determination to keep the condition from her friends so they wouldn't think of her as abnormal.


Then, in her early teen years, her parents divorced. She turned to singing not long after as a release from her troubles at home. She formed a girl's group with two of her classmates. When she was 15, her group auditioned with Evan Rodgers, a music producer. When they stepped into the room, the director only saw Robyn, as he would admit later. He loved her voice very much, to her friends' disappointment.

One year later, she moved to America to start recording a demo album. This must have taken lots of courage because she was leaving her home country. She soon found herself at Def Jam Records, being watched by Jay-Z, who signed her on the spot. After this, she produced many singles. Adversity struck her after all of her fame erupted, being assaulted by Chris Brown, her boyfriend. This led her to have courage and determination, speaking out against domestic violence. She also told the world that under her persona as a tough, famous star, she acknowledged the fact that she was still a vulnerable young woman who had experienced lots of adversity in recent years. She also said that she struggles to keep it together. Despite all this, she still manages to keep her unshakable image, and even managed to reunite with Chris Brown. She regards fashion as her "defense mechanism" which has contributed to her excellence. this remarkable lady is one we know today as Rihanna.

Information taken from Rihanna Bio.com