So far, we've found out the first two characteristics of an underdog. In Part 1 - Preparation, we determined that underdogs are prepared first, then have an opportunity. They do not necessarily prepare for the opportunity at hand. In Part 2 - Perseverance, we saw that underdogs maintain a single-course mindset. Although they may be derailed by events, circumstances, and discouragements, underdogs return to a path that will lead them to their life-changing encounter. This time, we'll see the inner resolve of an underdog and their dogged determination to keep getting back up.
Grit is that intangible, immeasurable inner strength that gives birth to mental toughness. Think of Rocky. In his fight against Drago, he is getting absolutely destroyed. Rocky is much smaller, he's bloodied, he's tired, and he's expected to lose. Somehow, somewhere inside, Rocky continues to find the inner strength to keep standing back up. The only way Rocky will not stand is if he cannot physically stand. But his mind won't listen to his body and he continues to rise . . .
David shows the same mental toughness, but against a different foe: intimidation. We last saw David attempting to wear Saul's armor. He's not used to the armor and probably cannot move around well so he decides not to wear it. Instead, David goes and equips himself with a weapon that he can use. "[H]e took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand . . ." I Sam. 17:40.
So David is heading into battle with his shepherd's staff, which is basically a thick stick, and a sling-shot with five rocks . . . David heads out to Goliath. A man that stands over 9 feet tall, with 125 pound chain mail, a bronze breastplate, bronze helmet, bronze shin guards, and a spear with a 15 pound spear-head.
Goliath sees this small, ill-equipped youth and lets David know his fate. "Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field." I Sam. 17: 44. Goliath isn't going to beat David up . . . He isn't going to humiliate him . . . He's going to kill David, and then leave his body for hungry scavengers! At this point I would start thinking about the reasonableness of my situation. But David doesn't! He has grit!
David tells Goliath, "I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases [sic] of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth." David is no only threatening Goliath with death and decapitation, but that Goliath's entire army will be devoured! Does David expect to take off Goliath's head with a stick . . .?! Or slingshot . . .?!
There is an inner strength that all underdogs possess. It is a unstoppable drive to keep moving into the direction of the enemy. To keep rising from the mat. To keep bearing down into the battle. Why have you not encountered your life-changing battle? Did you stop pursuing your dream for fear of failure? Did you stop defending your position because the company is too big with too many resources?
If you want to win, you cannot quit. You must have "an indomitable spirit." You must have grit.
Stay tuned for the final characteristic tomorrow . .