Review – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (2016)


Finally! Here is my review of Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. There are a few spoilers here in this review, but I tried to limit myself with the points I specifically wanted to make this time around. It’s mostly from the early chapters, so the later chapters are relatively spoil-free, but two direct quotes from the conclusion chapter are near the end of the review, so beware!

There were two things that immediately caught my attention in the first chapter. First, “It was critically important – and not at all easy – to continue after failure.” Preach it, sister. Continuing after failure is one of the hardest things that I do in life, constantly. Each failure is a trial for me to overcome. Either I quit what I’m doing, or I’ll need to persevere. Reading Duckworth’s book reminded me of my choices, and it helped to bring out a commitment (as I read her book in the first place to self-improve and to have motivation) to something that I’m passionate about that I want to continue on doing with a purpose – reading and then having discussions with those here on my blog and my community, or at least somewhere to post it so I may go back later on and revisit this review should I ever reread Grit and see if I still feel the same way. All of this leads to the second point in the first chapter: “It’s a combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special – they had grit.” After having read this book, Grit is something that I want to implement in my life.

Growing up, and even now, I sometimes struggle with the Naturalness Bias, but I have been shown contrary to it by people I’ve been acquainted with through sports functions whenever I attended my siblings’ tournaments. “The Naturalness Bias is a hidden prejudice against those who’ve achieved what they have because they worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they’re naturally talented.” I grew up in a culture that idolized those that successfully made it to the ‘top’. I watched people be pushed to their limits, and I watched them excel. And it’s because of that, that I saw all the arduous work and effort they put into the activity that pretty much dominated their life. They were talented, but they expanded their talent by putting in the effort, which culminated in great skill, and with more effort placed, I saw them achieve their victory. I hope I can get there too, one day, in my ultimate concern, but in the meantime, I can only do what I can do, and perhaps a little more. I need to keep putting in the effort to get there.

Duckworth develops a formula grit: “Talent x Effort = Skill —> Skill x Effort = Achievement.” She goes onto explaining how her formula functions: “Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them…. When you consider individuals in identical circumstances, what each achieves depends on just two things – Talent and Effort. Talent – how fast we improve in skill – absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the same time, effort makes skills productive.” Her formula makes sense to me, personally, and I hope to utilize it to cultivate my ultimate concern of self-improvement for my loved ones and me. It does give me hope that as long as I keep at it, my talent and effort will result in skill, and my skill and further effort will hopefully result in achievement.

There are two ways to grow grit: on your own or with other’s help. Duckworth expands upon this in her conclusion: “On your own, you can grow grit ‘from the inside out!’: You can cultivate your interests. You can develop a habit of daily challenges – exceeding – skill practice. You can connect your work to a purpose beyond yourself. And you can learn to hope when all seems lost. You can also grow your grit ‘from the outside in!’ Parents, teachers, bosses, mentors, friends – developing your personal grit depends critically on other people.” I try my best to implement both, but I lean more toward a more solitary lifestyle that focuses on growing grit from the inside out.

One of the most important things that I thought essential that I took away from this book was: “So, finishing whatever you begin without exception is a good way to miss opportunities to start different, possibly better, things. Ideally, even if you’re discontinuing one activity and choosing different lower-order goals, you’re still holding fast to your ultimate concern.” I think it would be good to track what I’m doing at the very least on a day-to-day basis before capturing more nitty gritty details of how long I spent doing the activity, what exactly the activity was specifically, etc. I’m not quite sure exactly on the details, but it’s for sure that having read Grit, I am inspired to make a change for myself.

Overall, I think this book is great if you open yourself to its message and ultimately do what works for you. It was a wonderful read for me, and I highly recommend it. While working on your passion through perseverance, you’ll find if it’s genuine or not through the hard work that you put in. I’m blessed enough that I know I’ve found a genuine passion in reading and then sharing with others what I’ve learned. I give Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance a 5/5. You can also check out Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk, where she talks about grit.


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