The Grit Factor 

(Original Disney-inspired artwork by Selma Komisky)

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The Grit Factor
Lessons Learned from Tadashi in ‘Big Hero 6’

By Kris Ann K. Erickson

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”

– Walt Disney

In Disney’s film, “Big Hero 6,” Tadashi Hamada dreams of creating a robot, but not just any robot. Tadashi imagines a caring, selfless, and helpful personal healthcare companion that he would call Baymax. Tadashi’s journey to bring this large, inflatable, gentle giant to fruition is long, lonely, and tiring. Tadashi documents his journey to create Baymax on video. Test #1 opens with a very hopeful and cautiously excited Tadashi and ends abruptly with a malfunctioning Baymax. Test #33 shows the young creator looking noticeably more weary and discouraged than at the outset, but Tadashi gives himself a pep talk saying, “I’m not giving up on you,” and presses on. His persistence pays off, and on Test #84, Tadashi’s dream comes true when Baymax responds exactly as he’s meant to!

Nothing dampens enthusiasm like time and failure. When I was a girl, I wanted nothing more than a horse. I obsessed over horses, dreaming of the day I might have one of my very own. I pictured myself on my imaginary steed, flying across the fields, one with the wind.

I was utterly delighted when my mom and dad surprised me on my birthday with my very own pony. Now, I would ride!

Unfortunately, my fine steed, Brownie, was either unaware of her role in my dreams, or unwilling to fill it. The first time I attempted to ride her, she refused to move at all. I was deflated. By the tenth attempt at riding like the wind, the only forward motion Brownie offered were 5 steps to the nearest tree where she effectively removed me by walking beneath a low hanging branch. That was it. I gave up, and we never did ride like the wind.

Tadashi possessed something that I did not. Tadashi had “grit,” which is “passion and perseverance in working towards significant long-term goals.” Though he became frustrated and weary, he stayed the course, ultimately realizing his dream to create something that he believed would help others. Had he given up any time before the 84th attempt, he would have missed out on the sweet reward of success. I’ll never know what might have happened if I’d persevered with Brownie.

Following Jesus requires grit too. Faith journeys often begin with high levels of excitement, anticipation, and optimism. New believers participate in mission trips, lead Sunday school classes, read the Bible, and listen to Christian music. They get busy creating a Jesus sort of life. However, without passion, perseverance and an eye on the eternal, they grow weary of doing the good they’ve been called to do.

Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Persevere in doing good. Though it is hard to continue doing good in the absence of tangible results, know that in due time, perseverance does lead to reward from our dear Father in heaven. God would agree with Tadashi’s statement, “I’m not giving up on you.”

What good is God calling you to persevere in creating? A piece of art? A relationship? A home? A legacy? Whatever it is, apply a little grit, and believe in it all the way.