Angela Duckworth
The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Right from our childhood we are made to believe that either you are born with talent or you simply do not have flair for having a particular talent. But this book completely bust out this myth.

Angela Duckworth has given this formula:

talent x effort = skill

skill x effort = achievement

Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential.
Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.
With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

The author says that

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

Angela Duckworth has done extensive research to conclude that more than talent one needs to have Grit to become successful in life. But what is Grit?

Grit is about holding the same top-level goal for a very long time.
Grit has two components: passion and perseverance.

Angela Duckworth has been able to measure both these components of Grit in her studies.

Basically our life Mantra should be as given by Green Beret
“Improvise, adapt, overcome.”

Interesting thoughts from the book are –

  • The four psychological assets of interest, practice, purpose, and hope are not You have it or you don’t.
  • You can learn to discover, develop, and deepen your interests.
  • You can acquire the habit of discipline.
  • You can cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning.
  • And you can teach yourself to hope.
  • You can grow your grit from the inside out.
  • Interest is one source of passion. Purpose—the intention to contribute to the well-being of others—is another.
  • Aristotle was among the first to recognize that there are at least two ways to pursue happiness. He called one “eudaimonic”—in harmony with one’s good ( eu) inner spirit ( daemon)— and the other “hedonic”— aimed at positive, in-the- moment, inherently self- centered experiences.
  • On one hand, human beings seek pleasure because, by and large, the things that bring us pleasure are those that increase our chances of survival.
  • If our ancestors hadn’t craved food and sex, for example, they wouldn’t have lived very long or had many offspring. To some extent, all of us are, as Freud put it, driven by the “pleasure principle.”
  • Consider the parable of the bricklayers:

Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?”

The first says, “I am laying bricks.”

The second says, “I am building a church.”

And the third says, “I am building the house of God.”

The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third has a calling.

Many of us would like to be like the third bricklayer, but instead identify with the first or second.

Henry Ford is often quoted as saying, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right.”

Angela has cited the study made by Carol Dweck regarding our mindset and how it can lead us to success or failure.
Consider the following statements-

  1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
  2. You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.
  3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
  4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

If you found yourself nodding affirmatively to the first two statements but shaking your head in disagreement with the last two, then Carol would say you have more of a fixed mindset.

If you had the opposite reaction, then Carol would say you tend toward a growth mindset.

The people with growth mindset and enough grit are successful in the long run.

The gist of the book is:

If you do not have lots of inherent talent but are willing to exert yourself in the direction of your interest with passion and purpose, your Grit (passion + perseverance) will ultimately lead you to Success.