I came across these two figures of speech:(a) Embrace the grind and (b) Lower your shoulder in one of the Instagram posts of Dwayne Johnson(The Rock)

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Since I am not a native English speaker I just need to know what do these two terms mean?

  • 1
    It's an old idiom -- "Keep your nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel".
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 5, 2016 at 22:52
  • google.com/…
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 5, 2016 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


embrace the grind: embrace the effort, the tough fight

lower your shoulder: lower your stance (as when you want to go/pass through someone, as someone in a defensive line, as in American football), prepare to attack

  • 1
    "Lower your shoulder" refers to placing your shoulder lower against what you're pushing against, to allow you to exert more force.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 12, 2015 at 18:13

Building on Marius Hancu’s answer, Johnson seems to be using this meaning of embrace:

to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly:
For example: to embrace an idea.                — Dictionary.com

to accept (something or someone) readily or gladly
to take up especially readily or gladly <embrace a cause>       — MW

The MW definition goes on to compare embrace to adopt, which

implies accepting something created by another or foreign to one's nature  <forced to adopt new policies>.

My interpretation is that embrace is being used (somewhat idiomatically) in a way similar to adopt (as defined above) and accept in the Kübler-Ross model, which categorizes people’s reaction to adversity on a scale from denial to acceptance.  I interpret Johnson’s post as meaning: “Don’t deny or ignore your situation; don’t waste your energy on anger; don’t wallow in depression.  Accept the fact that you’re in the situation, and deal with it.”

Grind is probably being used in these senses:

(noun) boring or difficult work
dreary, monotonous, or difficult labor, study, or routine

(verb) oppress, harass
to weaken or destroy gradually — usually used with down  <poverty ground her spirit down>

Just for fun: I found a counterpoint in To Embrace vs. To Accept.

  • "Embrace" is relatively easy to understand. But how do you explain "grind"?
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 5, 2016 at 23:57
  • And here I thought "grind" was the one that was relatively easy to understand.  I've updated the answer. Jun 6, 2016 at 0:17

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