By Brianna and Ariel
In which Brianna and Ariel discuss Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. What is grit and how do we cultivate it in ourselves and in our children? Duckworth shows us how. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest Nest up and running. Thank you for your continued support!
Summary: Grit by Angela Duckworth
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth tackles the age-old question - why are some people more successful than others? Our natural tendency is to point out inborn talent as the deciding factor. Duckworth has her own theory. She believes success can be attributed to grit - a special blend of passion and persistence that allows us to improve exponentially.
Summary: Grit by Angela Duckworth
I have been wanting to read Grit by Angela Duckworth for some time now. Numerous podcasts I listen to reference her research. Individuals I admire recommended it. In my mind, the bar was set unreasonably high. As a result I was underwhelmed. As a dork, I found her epic quest to define grit compelling. What exactly is grit and can it be distilled down to a simple formula? Answer: it can. My inner dork was squealing. She loves formulas! My inner dork enjoyed that she detailed her research saga - the years that went into distilling grit down to its most basic components - passion and perseverance. My inner time-keeper, however, really wished she would get to the point.
With that being said, I still think that Grit is worth reading. It isn’t just the research behind her conclusions. She makes an effort to show how her research can be applied - how we can grow grit both from the inside and outside. She even includes a chapter specifically on how to parent for grittier children. I was, however, a bit put off by how Duckworth frames grit, especially in the chapter for parents. In my mind, you can be successful at anything. You can be a successful swimmer, writer, singer or parent. Success is not tied to a profession. But over and over again she used example of gritty individuals in pursuit of professional goals. This may be unfair of me to point out though. As a stay at home mom, I am particularly sensitive to the personal/professional divide.
I give Grit by Angela Duckworth three eggs. The content is sound, but I wish Duckworth had framed it in a way that was more relatable to a wider audience. If you are going to read Grit, first read Mindset by Carol Dweck. Mindset both directly and indirectly influences Duckworth’s study of grit. Without this foundation information, you won’t get as much out of the book.
Discussion: Grit by Angela Duckworth
Ariel: What was your overall impression of Grit? Were you as underwhelmed as I was?
Brianna: I think I was pretty underwhelmed, too. I was fascinated by Duckworth’s findings, but the getting there involved more details about research than I think will interest the casual student of psychology. And the effective payoff in your life isn’t quite as huge as other works we’ve read.
Ariel: When you say the effective payout do you mean specifically for parents or anyone picking up the book? You need grit to do almost every worth doing in life - to have a fulfilling career, to have a growth-oriented marriage or to be healthy in a world populated by poor choices. You need grit to be your best self. In the chaotic world of living with littles, you need very little to simply be a parent but you need grit to be a great parent. So when I say I was underwhelmed - I was underwhelmed with the presentation, not the concepts. This was part of the reason I was frustrated with the book. To me, grit is about how we approach life. So to have Duckworth continually framing grit as vocational spoiled the book. It applies to so much more!
Brianna: You know, you’re right. It isn’t that having grit can’t make an impact in your life. It’s that Duckworth didn’t really convey well enough how it applies to all areas of your life. I was left with the impression that one could be gritty at only one or two things. I guess you can only afford to give one or two things that kind of intense focus all the time, but wouldn’t other areas of your life benefit from you being grittier at them? I adjust my criticism in this way: she told us all about grit and how she learned you can become grittier, but she did not do a good enough job telling us why we should want to be gritty outside the professional or hardcore hobby sphere. She didn’t answer the “so what?” question.
Ariel: I can agree with that. What did you think of the chapter Duckworth dedicated to parenting? I am torn. There was a lot that I found myself emphatically underlining! But I did not like how - again - it wasn’t about being a gritty parent. It was about parenting for grit by being a gritty role model as a professional. I believe there is such a thing as a gritty parent. I think that is what we are doing here at Busy Nest News. We are creating a community of people actively seeking out information to better themselves, as individuals, as parents or as caregivers. I liked her concept of the wise parent, as someone who holds their children and themselves to high standards but within a structure that offers love and support. I just wish she had opened the dialogue up to include professional parents.
Brianna: I really enjoyed the bit about the wise parent. I was listening to the audiobook (read by Duckworth herself! And it’s good!), and I was easily able to replicate on my kitchen whiteboard the chart she described. I was glad to hear, too, that the verdict is in regarding parenting styles: authoritative parenting has the best outcomes by every metric. Now we can focus on choices within that part of the spectrum.
Brianna and I agree Grit by Angela Duckworth is worth the read. Grit - that special blend of passion and perseverance - is something we should all aspire to. It is something we should encourage in our children. But don’t get put off by how Duckworth frames grit. Grit is not specific to professional or semi-professional hobbies, we can all be gritty in our own way. Do you want to be a gritty parent? Be a gritty parent. That is what we strive for here at Busy Nest News.
Whether or not you have read Duckworth's book, how do you define 'grit'? Would you consider yourself a gritty individual? Let us know in the comments below!
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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