Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Reviewed on , book by Angela Duckworth

Be assiduous, output is talent multiplied by effort, … bla bla— I can’t stop thinking about this quote:

When I asked spelling champ Kerry Close if she’d ever experienced the state of flow during deliberate practice, she said, “No, the only time I could say that I was in flow was when I wasn’t being challenged.”
This nails something that’s been bothering me for a while. Flow feels amazing. You’re powering through problem upon problem for hours. You come out of it and feel like you can do anything.

But when you’re really learning you don’t lose track of time. You hate time.

On those days you bang your head against the wall for 6 hours and feel like shit after afterwards. Emotionally, the day of flow feels much better. However, the 6-hours of banging is where you’re learning; tearing down the bulwark. The next day you tend to crack it. It matches my experience learning has to be a bit painful. The people who have grit understand this. They seek that. I internalize it as a mandatory activation energy of difficulty that rewards you with plenty of flow afterwards. Sure, you’ll learn in flow too, but it’s not going to be of the ‘leap to the next lily pad’-type.

In other words, deliberate practice is for preparation, and flow is for performance.
Gritty people are people who seek this. They are thirsty for finishing things, whether it’s building something, or reaching a deep understanding of something. The book develops this concept well. I’m glad I spent 200 pages or so thinking about this concept, because it’s important. The book is easy to read and it’s trivial to skim through the repetitive parts. For more stars, I should struggle less to come up with more insightful angles to view this from from memory.