Living an honest life seems like an impossible task. In our hyper connected world, I feel my identity fragmenting between social media, my work life, and private personas. As I am continually torn in myriad directions, I find myself questioning the very notion of truth — not the capital T, but the smaller, less obvious truths about life — and my role in it.

Am I an honest person? Do I speak the truth? Or is it more nuanced than that?

One of my personal values is integrity. I try to lead an honest life but it's not always so easy. If I didn't have to take into account the world I interact with, I'm sure I could walk around "speaking my truth" and no one would care or get offended. But it doesn't work like that. We're all intertwined in a beautifully awkward dance of social norms, expectations, and performed roles. So how does one navigate such unchartered territories?

It just takes a little grit.

Grit is having a backbone. Courage, determination, and tenacity.

Grit is strength of character. Resolve. Bravery.

Grit is that gut feeling. 

All of these things contribute to a life of integrity where your actions are in alignment with your values. But, as Judith Lasater reminds us her book Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life: "Life is practice, practice is life." 

It's all a process, an unfolding — a repeated application of an idea, belief or activity in order to get better at it. When it comes to integrity in my own life, I see success most often when I first take the time to unpack my thoughts and beliefs. Then, I put it into action. It's a clunky process with a lot of missteps but that's the point. I keep showing up, practicing, and repeating the process.

Grit helps me when I don't have enough motivation. It's the thing I can turn to when I can see the right path but aren't wearing the right shoes for the journey. Grit demands I bear down and lean into it, even though it would be easier to pay less attention and coast through life. Grit is always available; rumbling quietly in your core, ready to leap into action. All you have to do is listen.



Marion Piper practices grit on a daily basis while also writing things, drawing things, researching things, and traveling to things. You can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Integrity.

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Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.