Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work


I’ve been listening to Angela Duckworth’s new book entitled Grit where she argues that grit/persistence/sticktuitiveness (whatever you want to call it) matters more than talent.

As Lefsetz blogged, her writing is mediocre and will almost put you to sleep. We are talking about perseverance after all, so naturally it contains stories about successful people like Warren Buffet, etc – the same success stories you can read on Lifehacker or see on motivational Pinterest boards.

I think grit can be deceiving. Imagine all the kids that followed their parent’s advice to become a lawyer or doctor just because they were told to. The decisive career route probably makes them happy but I bet deep down they’d like to try some other stuff. They’ve got resiliency nailed down but lack the passion.

Avoid pre-determining your future. Minds change, technology changes, politics change. Change is constant. But I get it: most people don’t want to chase uncertainty because it’s stressful. It’s always easier when someone decides for you.

No one’s stopping you from doing what you’re good at. That’s your comparative advantage. But you have to enjoy your efforts too. Duckworth rightly points out that your work should connect back to your broader philosophy of life.

So how do you connect perseverance and passion? I think one way is to determine whether your ambition is a dream or a race. Dreams are long-term goals on the other side of grit. They require the courage to get lost in the labyrinth, to be uncertain, while the racetrack has a clear destination.

The maze is a worthy path. You may be lost and scared now but good things take time. Things just haven’t worked out…YET.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.