Jun 2019

Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.
Angela Duckworth, Grit

Overall, I found the thesis interesting but likely overstated: I’d be very surprised if other psychologists agree that the data merits this degree of certainty.


The author isn’t particularly quotable herself, but I enjoyed many of her quotations from other works. (Of course, some are probably wildly out of context.)

You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference.
Charles Darwin, quoted in Chapter 2

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are dampened, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.
William James, quoted in Ch. 2

No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become. That is its advantage, for whenever one can see the act of becoming one grows somewhat cool…Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius. For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking…To call someone “divine” means: “here there is no need to compete.”
Nietzsche, quoted in Chapter 3

Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But that path to the paradise of that achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration. There are daily small deaths.
Martha Graham, quoted in Chapter 7

The true joy in life is to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw, quoted in Chapter 12

Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
John Wooden, quoted in Chapter 12



The Mundanity of Excellence