Grit or Quit: Hannah Koen and Other People Who Did Not Give Up

By: Ken Streater | Passion | Purpose | Top Ten Lists

“When the going gets tough, I quit,” says American Grit contestant Hannah Koen.

American Grit is a FOX television series that highlights contestants who know they have personal weaknesses or challenges (including maybe too much bravado) that they need to overcome in order to find success in their lives. Riki Long, a former Marine Corporal military hero and American Grit cadre leader, voiced her concern about Hannah’s lack of grit, after she melted down over a small bug bite. “She hasn’t even been here ten minutes. She is going to have a rough ten weeks.”

Hannah then showed that sometimes you can overcome circumstances, what you might believe about yourself, and what others believe in you. In a long foot race at the contestant's compound among 17 competitors for 16 beds, Hannah took a shortcut to the cabins by swimming across a cold lake. She was among the first to snag a mattress.  “That wasn’t me, but I loved her,” exclaimed a shivering Hannah after her across-the-pond power swim. “That girl right there, that was some badass.”

Hannah’s swim temporarily quieted some critics. She still has a long way to go to get her grit. And, she is not alone among those who found success in spite of early on being told they were too weak, too lazy, or too “whatever” to succeed.

Here are some of the more famous people who could have quit, but found their grit.

1)      Oprah was fired from one of her first jobs for being too emotional about those she reported on.

2)      Walt Disney was let go as a reporter for the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination.”

3)      Madonna dropped out of college and lasted one day at Dunkin Donuts, where she was let go after squirting jelly filling on a client.

4)      Howard Stern was fired as a disc jockey by WNBC for being too crude.

5)      Marilyn Monroe was not hired by two modeling agencies that suggested she become a secretary.

6)      Stephen King threw his first book, “Carrie” away after it was rejected by 30 different publishers. His wife pulled it out of the trash can and convinced him to re-submit it.

7)      Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

8)      JK Rowling was a broke single mother living on welfare who lost her job for writing stories on her computer at work.

9)      Jay-Z could not get his music picked up by a record label, so he and friends sold CDs from their car next to a hot dog restaurant.

10)   Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything,” so he dropped out, got fired from his first two jobs, and then became the greatest inventor of his time.