A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

December 17, 2017

When I picked up the book Grit by Angela Duckworth, I found myself quite excited turning and reading through the pages with enthusiasm. Yes, yes, yes… I thought. This is exactly what I needed to read. This book examines the question which I have carried in my head with myself for years, and now, here is finally that chance to reach a conclusion for it. The question is: why do some people succeed and some fail?

Does it really matter how talented, gifted, and smart you are or is what really gets you there the power of perseverance, commitment, persistence, and focus? Is it about how much, how far, and for how long you push beyond your comfort zone and how committed you are to challenge your own capabilities?

Maybe I am just too jaded nowadays. Maybe I have read too many books, have built high expectations, and have become difficult to please. But I think I have the right, for in exchange of giving my time to a book, in return, it is obligated to deliver to me all it has and beyond.

I should admit it was all quite engaging reading through Grit until I got more towards the middle and the end of the book.  I found myself bored for it all went on painfully too long. All of a sudden, all the enjoyable highs turned into a constant flat low and the writing became more academic, all based on data, research, and fact. Not only that, there was also a lot of praise by the author for her own background and credentials, so that between the lines, we could all became aware of her achievements. It seemed like a “now let me tell you a little about myself” episode.

At some point,  I even thought that maybe originally she only had enough material for a longish essay, but she was still able to manage to do a good job stretching it into a book. That’s how, so many times, she lost me as a reader, but of course, I always came back when something new arose and woke up my interest all over again. The truth is I would have liked her to elaborate more for us her readers as to how to maintain our grit and our perseverance and how to find our strength and use it to work for us.

It is as though in the beginning of the book, she was giving us the promise and the good news that she had found the cure for cancer. She got us excited to follow her all through the pages of the book, then by the end of the book we realized that she had failed to reveal to us her discovery of the formula she had found in regards to curing cancer. She had failed to tell us really how to develop our grit, how to maintain and use and support it. She had failed to teach us how to build perseverance and overcome obstacles and limitations. In the case of grit being genetic, she failed in explaining how much of it can be manipulated and influenced, how much of it can be learned by hard work and practicing courage, following through with our long term goals, education, resilience, optimism, confidence.

All these questions still remain unanswered in my head, and the question which I have carried in my head with myself for years still continues!

I am curious. Go get the book, and once you read it, please share with me your take on it. Get the book on Amazon.
About Angela  Duckworth

Angela Duckworth is the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change For Good initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics.A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Angela has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.Prior to her career in research, Angela founded a summer school for low-income children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2012, celebrated its twentieth anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a math and science teacher in the public schools of New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.Angela completed her undergraduate degree in Advanced Studies Neurobiology at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. With the support of a Marshall Scholarship, she completed an MSc with Distinction in Neuroscience from Oxford University. She completed her PhD in Psychology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.Angela has received numerous awards for her contributions to K-12 education, including a Beyond Z Award from the KIPP Foundation. Angela’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, is a #1 New York Times best seller.

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