Why did I read this book?
When I first got to Leavenworth camp, I was reading books that were impressive however they were the
kind of books you like If you haven’t read the best books. This one is in that category. I have heard
about Angela Duckworth in several articles I read prior to arriving at the LPC. She is fascinating. I
remember a story about her watching her daughter struggle to open a raisin box…She was super funny
in remarking…OMG “My daughter just got outsmarted by a box of raisins.” She was equally clever,
getting her daughter to come back and continue working on opening the raisin box. I love her attitude
about learning and how resilient she is. I wanted to read her stuff I just had it on a long list of things I
wanted to do. This is a fantastic book.
What is this book about?
This book is about the power of GRIT to help you achieve your potential. It is less about talent and more
about how hard you are willing to work. Obsession with talent distracts us from the truth that hard
work is a bigger part of success than one might think. You can grow your grit. However, I would argue it
is much more difficult than Duckworth argues. However, it is hard to argue with most of her logic. She is
as smart as it gets and makes her points very connivingly. You can develop your grit one of two
ways…”from the inside out,”: you can cultivate your interests. You can develop a habit of daily
challenge – exceeding – skill – practice. The other way is “from the outside in,” Parents, Coaches,
teachers, mentors, friends – developing your personal grit depends critically on people. In the end too
much emphasis is put on talent. Effort rather than talent plays a much larger role than one might think.
We mythologize natural talent like it is something that helps determine so many accomplishments. True
talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when
you take your acquired skills and use them. Effort builds skills. Without effort, your talent is nothing
more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have
done but didn’t.
“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming,” They would rather show you the
highlight real. But the devil is in the details. How hard you are willing to work to achieve your goals.
High level performance is, in fact, an accretion of mundane acts. Working hard and doing the little
things are what matters most. Be consistent and outwork others. That is a big key to success.
What did I learn from this book?
If I’m being honest, I feel like I have an incredible amount of GRIT. Let me be clear…. I have a
tremendous amount of GRIT when IM SOBER. When I’m using, I’m a mess (I’m lazy, entitled, and
unmotivated). It is two opposite worlds. People marvel here at how hard I work here. I would not be
incorrect in saying there is nobody that works harder than me here. Every day I bike at least 24 miles
(and I bike hard…I am drenched in sweat 2x a day EVERY DAY) …. EVERY DAY. I have not missed a single
day since COVID (with my back messed up, sick…you name it). The reason I bike 26/28 miles a day is I
wanted to be able to say that I have ridden a bike long enough to have made it to my home and back. It
is 1696 miles from the front door of Leavenworth to the front door of my house in Sacramento. It would
take 10 weeks to make it home riding over 25 miles a day. I have made it back and forth at least once. I
will continue biking every day until I leave. It’s funny from time to time someone will come up and
challenge (well not exactly…they will want to see if they can keep up for the day)….Borrowing a page
from Will Smiths book I tell them one of three things will happen if we bike (and they think they will beat
me)….ONE…they will lose/I will win….TWO…The bike will break….or THREE…I will die.. HA. My point is
I may not be the best athlete or in the best shape…. But I will not lose…. that’s because I won’t let
myself lose. I work hard not just biking…my days are jam packed. I am working from 5am to 10pm (until
count) on something productive. Classes, reading, helping others, studying, & My jobs, etc… I will not
be outworked (I can control that).
There is one part in the book that literally had me in tears…I want to copy the excerpt. It goes as
The author has a strange relationship with her father…Who it appears constantly is questioning her
intelligence. She is brilliant.
“You’re no genius. My dad used to say when I was a little girl. I realize now he was talking to himself as
much as he was talking to me. If you define Genius as being able to accomplish great things in life
without effort, then he was right…I am no genius, and neither was he. But….if, instead, you define
genius as working toward excellence, ceaselessly, with every element of your being – then, in fact, my
dad is a genius, and so am I, and if you’re willing, so are you.” I LOVE THIS.
If you work hard so many things become a possibility.