The Epitome of Grit

The Epitome of Grit

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”– Dr. Angela Duckworth

In our meeting tonight, we heard from our speakers and guests about their “grit” journey of raising plants, losing weight, and doing triple duties during pandemic. One of the guests shared with us her favorite quote, “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an enduring example of that. Though she passed away in September of this year, her grit, justice, and legacy is long-lived. Here’s my script on the leadership profile of the day. Enjoy. 

Feminist icon, women’s rights champion, pioneering US Supreme Court Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was all of them.  Barely five feet tall and weighing 100 pounds, RBG’s commitment, grit, and perseverance made her a legend and a giant of our times.

She was turned down by 14 law firms after graduating top in her class from Harvard and Columbia universities in the 1950s. Her unbending grit to smash the glass ceiling led her to become the first Jewish woman to serve on the US Supreme Court.

There were only nine women in her class of 500 and no bathrooms for them in the building where classes were held at Harvard Law School in 1956. One of her professors even offered to give RBG answers on a test in exchange for sex. Unlike many women of her time, she was furious – “How dare you. How dare you.”

It was grit that allowed RBG to press on despite sexism and discrimination. She went on to argue six landmark gender equality cases before the Supreme Court and won five of them. Because of her, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on gender or reproductive choices. Because of her, women have the right to financial independence and equal benefits.

She seems like a super woman in many of our eyes, but she had been diagnosed with cancer five times over the past 21 years. Some people around her didn’t make it easy… There was a senator who announced with great glee that RBG was going to be dead within six months after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis. That senator, whose name she has since forgotten, was dead long before she passed. And when she was interviewed, she smiled and said, “I am [still] very much alive.”

Yes, RBG, you are very much alive. Your legacy, your words, and your grit will be alive for many generations to come. Everyday, you woke up, made a choice to carry on or give up. You deliberately chose to be in the fight for society change – a fight that many of us will continue to carry on in your absence.  Thank you.

Hope you find your grit in life and press on! “Consistency of effort over the long run is everything” – Angela Duckworth

, The Epitome of Grit

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Written by Renee Yao, President of Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters

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