Illustrated Booknotes - Grit by Angela Duckworth

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“Part I - What grit it and why it matters

 

Showing up

They were constantly driven to improve…the highly accomplished were paragons of perseverance. Their passion was enduring.

 

What matters is grit

 

No other commonly measured personality trait - including extroversion, emotional stability, and conscientiousness - was as effective as Grit in predicting job retention.

 

Grit predicts success

 

Grit is separate from talent

 

Distracted by talent

 

I'd been distracted by talent.

 

If they mustered sufficient effort over time they'd get to where they needed; They were all talented enough.

 

 

one more…one more…one more…

 

 

Figure out how to sustain effort just a little longer

 

 

"I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much intellect, only in zeal and hard work" - Darwin

 

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

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“William James

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

“the human individual lives usually far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. He energizes below his maximum, and he behaves below his optimum."

 "The plain fact remains that men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use."

By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors - including Grit - don't matter as much as they really do.”

“Focus on talent distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is effort.

 Effort counts twice”

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“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.

If we overemphasize talent, we underemphasize everything else.

 The most human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.

 "Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence." [check author of quote]

The minimal talent needed to succeed in swimming is lower than we think.

 "The main thing is greatness is doable. Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable."

A high level of performance is, in fact, an accretion of mundane acts.”

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“No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become" - Nietzsche

 

"Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius," Nietzsche said. "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.'"

 

In other words, mythologizing natural talent lets us all off the hook. It lets us relax into the status quo.

 

"Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted. They acquired greatness, became 'geniuses'....They all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it, because they took more pleasure in making the little, secondary things well than in the effect of a dazzling whole." - Nietzsche”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“Talent x effort = skill

 

Skill x effort = achievement

 

Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort.

 

Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them.

 

When you consider individuals in identical circumstances, what each achieves depends on just two things, talent and effort. Talent - how fast we improve in skill - absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive.”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“The first 10,000 pots are difficult and then it gets a little easier."

 

 

 

 

"I rewrote everything...I began to take my lack of talent seriously." - John Irving.

 

"To do anything really well, you have to overextend yourself...In my case, I learned that I just had to pay twice as much attention. I came to appreciate that in doing something over and over again, something that was never natural becomes almost second nature. You learn that you have the capacity for that, and that it doesn't come overnight." - Irving

 

"I have confidence in my stamina to go over something again and again no matter how difficult it is." - Irving”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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Will Smith

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“I've never really viewed myself as particularly talented....Where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic." - Will Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accomplishment is very much about going the distance

 

"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I'm not afraid to die on the treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there' s two things:”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple." - Will Smith

 

Harvard researchers knew that running hard was not just a function of aerobic capacity and muscle strength, but also the extent to which "a subject is willing to push himself or has a tendency to quit before the punishment becomes too severe.”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“When it comes to how we fare in the Marathon of life, efforts counts tremendously.”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“Eighty percent of success in life is showing up." - Woody Allen

 

 

Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think it's related to staying true to our commitments even when we're not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day eager to try again, is in my view even more reflective of grit. Because when you don't come back the next day - when you permanently turn your back on a commitment - your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.

 

 

 

 

[image for below?]

 

Any coach or athlete will tell you, consistency of effort over the long run is everything.”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.

 

"The separation of talent and skill is one of the most misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft." - Will Smith

 

Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. With effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn't. With effort, talent becomes skill, and at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

 

 

How gritty are you?

There are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really out really hard problems, it all takes time - longer than most people imagine. And you've got to apply those skills and produce goods and services that are valuable to people. Rome wasn't built in a day.

 

[image: shortcuts?]

 

Grit is about[…]”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“Do you have a life philosophy?" - Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks coach

 

He's asking what you're trying to get out of life.

 

Do things better than they've ever been done before - Pete Carroll’s philosophy

 

"You've got to have a philosophy." ...a philosophy that would drive all my actions

 

Although a team has to do a million things well, figuring out the overarching vision is of utmost importance. - Coach John Wooden

 

"A clear, well-defined philosophy gives you the guidelines and boundaries that keep you on track."

 

The higher the goal, the more it's an end in itself, and the less it's merely a means to an end.

 

Seaver aimed to pitch "the best I possibly can day after day, year after year." Here is how that intention gave meaning and structure to all his lower-order goals.

 

"Pitching is what makes me happy. I've devoted my life to it...I've made up my mind what I want to do. I'm happy when I pitch well so I only do things that help me be happy."

 

What I mean by passion is not just that you have something you care about. What I mean is that you care about the same[…]”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

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“Positive fantasizing - indulging in visions of a positive future without figuring out how to get there, chiefly by considering what obstacles stand in the way, has short-term payoffs, but long-term costs. In the short-term, you feel pretty good about your aspiration to be a doctor. In the long-term, you live with the disappointment of not having achieved your goal.”

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“Warren Buffets simple three-step process for prioritizing

 

Write down list of 25 career goals.

 

2. Circle the 5 highest priority goals.

 

3. Avoid the other 20 goals at all cost.

 

Any successful person to decides what to do in part by deciding what not to do.”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

This material may be protected by copyright.

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“When you have to divide your actions among a number of very different high-level career goals, you extremely conflicted. You need one internal compass.

 

Improvise, adapt, overcome." Motto of the Green Berets.

 

He didn't just want to be funny for a living, he wanted to be among the best cartoonists in the world. - Bob Mankoff

 

The one thing all the cartoons had in common was they made the reader think.

 

What mattered was that style was, in some very deep and idiosyncratic way, an expression of the individual cartoonist.

 

"I thought, 'I can do this, I can do this. You're I had complete confidence." He knew he could draw cartoons that would make people think, and he knew he could develop his own style: "I worked through various styles. Eventually I did my dot style."

 

Between 1974 and 1977 Bob was rejected by the New Yorker about two thousand times.

 

In his role of editor and mentor, Bob advises aspiring cartoonists to submit their drawings in batches of ten, "because in cartooning, as in life, nine out of ten things never work out.”

“Giving up on lower-level goals is not only forgivable, it's sometimes absolutely necessary.

 

The higher-level the goal, the more sense it makes to be stubborn.

 

My compass once I found all the parts and put it together, keeps pointing me in the same direction, week after month after year.

 

The relationship between intelligence and eminence was exceedingly slight.

 

Persistence of motive

 

" high but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence with somewhat less persistence.

 

Grit grows

 

Almost all human traits are polygenic, meaning that traits are influenced by more than one gene.

 

As a species we're getting better and better at abstract reasoning.

 

One thing that makes you better at basketball is playing with kids who are just a little more skilled.

 

Either small environmental differences, or genetic ones, can trigger a virtuous circle. Either way, the effects are multiplied socially, through culture, because each of us enriches the environment of all of us.

 

[image: virtuous circle]

 

Grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low[…]”

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“Lectures don't have half the effect of consequences.

 

A good place to start to understand is where you are today. If you're not as gritty as you want to be, ask yourself why.

 

The higher level of the goal in question, the more stubborn they are in seeing it through. Most important, paragons of grit don't swap compasses: when it comes to the one, singularly important aim that guides almost everything else they do.

 

 

 

 

The psychological assets that mature paragons of grit have in common.

 

1. First comes interest

 

2. Next comes the capacity to practice

 

3. Third is purpose

 

4. Hope

 

 

 

The psychological assets that mature paragons of grit have in common.

 

First comes interest. Passion comes with intrinsically enjoying what you do.

 

2. Next comes the capacity to practice. One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday. So, after you've discovered and developed interest in a particular area, you must devote yourself to the sort of focused, full-hearted challenge exceeding skill practice that leads to mastery. You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day[…]”

“Whatever it is you want to do, you'll find in life that if you're not passionate about what it is you're working on, you won't be able to stick with it. - Jeff Bezos

 

I love what I do

 

I'm so lucky, I get up every morning looking forward to work. I can't wait to get into the studio, I can't wait to get onto the next project.

 

Research shows that people are enormously more satisfied with their jobs when they do something that fits their personal interests.

 

Very few people end up loving what they do for a living.

 

Most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn't recognizably their life's destiny on first acquaintance.

 

“There are a lot of things where the subtleties and exhilarations come with sticking at it for a while, getting elbow-deep into something. A lot of things seem uninteresting and superficial until you start doing them and, after a while, you realize that there are so many facets you didn't know at the start, and you can never fully solve the problem[…]”

“Deliberate practice

 

Even the most complex and creative of human abilities can be broken down into its component skills, each of which can be practiced, practiced, practiced.”

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“People often assume that you have to have great hands to become a surgeon, but it's not true.” What’s more important is practicing this one difficult thing day and night for years on end.” Atul Gawande, surgeon

 

“…And I think magic, whether I’m holding my breath or shuffling a deck of cards, is pretty simple. It's practice, it's training, and it’s experimenting, while pushing through the pain to be the best that I can be. And that's what magic is to me.” - David Blaine

 

[image: David Blaine?]

 

Deliberate practice is experienced as supremely effortful

 

Grittier adults reported experiencing more flow.

 

The primary motivation for doing deliberate practice is to improve your skill

 

Deliberate practice is for preparation, and flow is for performance

 

Work fiercely hard at every single practice

 

Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show you the highlight of what they've become.”

“Deliberate practice can be extremely positive - not just in the long term but in the moment.

 

The alternative to deliberate practice - mindlessly going through the emotions without improvement - can be it's own form of suffering.

 

There's solid scientific evidence that the subjective experience of effort - what it feels like to work hard - can and does change, she. For example, effort is rewarded in some way

 

How can you get the most out of deliberate practice and - because you’ve earned it - experience more flow?

 

First, know the science.

 

Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:

 

-a clearly defined stretch goal

-Full concentration and effort

-Immediate and informative feedback

-Repetition with reflection and refinement

 

Second, make it a habit

 

Figure out when you're most comfortable doing deliberate practice. Once you've made your selection, do deliberate practice then and there everyday. Why? Because routines are a godsend when doing something hard

 

Third, change the way you experience it.

 

 

‘if you try, you can learn to embrace challenge, rather than fear it. You can do all things you're supposed to do during deliberate practice - a clear goal, feedback, all of it - and still feel great while you're doing it….it’s[…]”

“if you try, you can learn to embrace challenge, rather than fear it. You can do all things you're supposed to do during deliberate practice - a clear goal, feedback, all of it - and still feel great while you're doing it….it’s all about in-the-moment self-awareness without judgement….it’s about relieving yourself of the judgment that gets in the way of enjoying the challenge’

 

Purpose

 

Interest is one source of passion. Purpose - the intention to contribute to the well-being of others - is another. The mature passions of gritty people depend on both.

 

The common sequence is to start out with a relatively self-orientated interest, then learn self-disciplined practice, and finally, integrate that work with an other-centered purpose.

 

When I talk to grit paragons, and they tell me what they're pursuing has purpose, they mean something much deeper than mere intention. They're not just goal-oriented; the nature of their goals is special.

 

The long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments and struggle, the sacrifice- all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people. At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what

“The long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments and struggle, the sacrifice- all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people. At its core, the idea of purpose is the idea that what we do matters to people other than ourselves.

 

I wake up every morning with a sense of purpose.

 

Grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life.

 

If you take a moment to reflect on the times in your life when you've really been at your best - when you've risen to the challenges before you, finding strength to do what might have seemed impossible - you’ll realize that the goals you achieved were connected in some way, shape, or form to the benefit of other people.

 

In one study, adults who felt their work was a calling missed at least a third fewer days of work than those with a job or career.”

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“All of us are looking for daily meaning as well as daily bread…for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying - Terkel

 

Most of us are looking for a calling, not a job.

 

Whatever you do - whether you're a janitor or the CEO - you can continually look at what you do and ask how it connects to other people, how it connects to the bigger picture, how it can be an expression of your deepest values.

 

It took him years to interstate his personal interest in mindfulness with the other-centered purpose of helping people lead healthier, happier lives.

 

Only when interest and purpose melded did he feel like he was doing what he'd been out on the planet to do.

 

Leaders and employees who keep both personal and pro social interests in mind do better in the long run than those who are 100 percent selfishly motivated.

 

Only they enjoyed the work did the desire to help others result in more effort

 

‘We always persevered. We didn't give in to obstacles. There was no way we were going to let ourselves fail’

“You have to believe that your efforts will not be in vain’

 

‘There's no reserve in me - whatever I have. I'm willing to give t- you or anyone else’

 

How to cultivate a sense of purpose - three recommendations

 

Reflecting on how the work you're already doing can make a positive contribution to society

 

2. Think about how in small but meaningful ways, you can change your current work to enhance its connection to your core values

 

3. Finding inspiration in a purposeful role model

 

Hope

 

Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can improve our future. I have a feeling that tomorrow

 

The flip side of learned helplessness is learned optimism

 

I won’t quit in response to adversity

 

Optimists habitually search for temporary and specific causes of their suffering, whereas pessimists assume permanent and pervasive causes are to blame.”

“If you're a pessimist you might say I screw everything up. Or: I’m a loser. These explanations are all permanent; there's not much you can do to change them. They're also pervasive; they're likely to influence lots of life situations, not just your job performance. Permanent and pervasive explanations for adversity turn minor complications into major catastrophes. They make it seem logical to give up. If, on the other hand, you’re an optimist, you might say, I mismanaged my time. Or: I didn’t work efficiently because of distractions. These explanations are all temporary and specific; their “fixability” motivates you to start cleaning them away as problems.

 

“Well, I don’t really think in terms of disappointment. I tend to think that everything that happens is something I can learn from. I tend to think, ‘Well okay, that didn't go so well, but I guess I will just carry on.’”

 

 

Teachers who have an optimistic way of interpreting adversity have more grit than their more pessimistic counterparts, and grit, in turn, predicts better teaching. For instance, an optimistic teacher might keep looking for ways to help an uncooperative student, whereas a pessimist might assume there was nothing more to be done.

“When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can't be found, you guarantee they won't.

 

“Whether you think you can, or think you can't - you’re right.” - Henry Ford

 

[image: Henry Ford?]

 

They’d learned to interpret failure as a cue to try harder rather than as confirmation that they lacked the ability to succeed.”

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“People of all ages carry around in their minds private theories about how the world works.

[image: people with different theories]

 

With a fixed mindset, you're likely to interpret these setbacks as evidence that, after all, you don't have “the right stuff” - you're not good enough. With a growth mindset, you believe you an learn to do better.

 

Consider, for example, what people said to you when, as a child, you did something really well. Were you praised for your talent? Or were you praised for your effort? Either way, chances are you use the same language today when evaluating victories and defeats.”

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them” - James Baldwin

 

It's easy to make the mistake of changing what we say without changing our body language, facial expressions, and behavior.

 

Watch for mismatches between our words and actions. When we slip up - and we will - we can simply acknowledge that it's hard to move away fro a fixed, pessimistic view of the world.

 

“I used to use the word complacency to describe the ones who didn't work out, but the more I reflect on it, the more I realize that's not quite it. It's really a belief that ‘I can't learn anymore. I am what I am. This is how I do things.’” Bill McNabb

 

“ I really do think people develop theories about themselves and the world, and it determines what they do.” McNabb

 

When you have setbacks and failures, you can't overreact to them. You need to step back, analyze them, and learn from them. But you also need to stay optimistic.

 

“If you have an appraisal, a thought, a belief - whatever you want to call it - that says, ‘wait a minute, I can do something about this! or ‘This really isn't so bad!’ or whatever, then these inhibitory structures in the cortex are activated. They send a message: ‘Cool it down there! Don't get so activated. There's something we can do.’”

 

A fixed mindset about ability leads to pessimistic explanations of adversity, and that, in turn, leads to both giving up on challenges and avoiding them in the first place. In contrast, a growth mindset leads to optimistic ways of explaining adversity, and that, in turn, leads to perseverance and seeking out new challenges that will ultimately make you even stronger.

 

“Growth mindset -> optimistic self-talk -> perseverance over adversity”

Excerpt From

Grit - Angela Duckworth 3 ePub

Original Text By Author, Illustrations By Rob

This material may be protected by copyright.

“Growth mindset -> optimistic self-talk -> perseverance over adversity”

“My recommendation for teaching yourself hope is to take each step in the sequence above and ask, What can I do to boost this one?

 

Like a muscle that eats stronger with use, the brain changes itself when you struggle to master a new challenge. In fact, there's never a time in life when the brain is completely fixed.

 

My next suggestion is to practice optimistic self-talk.

 

You can modify your self-talk, and you can learn to not let it interfere with you moving towards your goals. With practice and guidance, you can change the way you think, feel, and most important, act when the going gets rough.

 

Part III - Growiinng grit from the outside in

 

Parenting for grit

 

“You cannot quit. You have the ability, so you need to go back and work this out.”

 

If you want to bring forth grit in your child, first ask how much passion and perseverance you have for your own life goals

 

“He created an environment in which it was not only possible but easy to move through ten years of career development every year.”

 

“…not to tangle up my ego in the code I write”

 

“The playing fields of grit

 

“…what we have tended to find is that all that energy, drive, and commitment - all that grit - that was developed through athletics can almost always be transferred to something else.”

 

“…most people are born with tremendous potential. The real question is whether they're encouraged to employ their good old-fashioned hard work”

“and their grit, if you will, to it's maximum. In the end, those are the people who seem to be the most successful.”

 

Without directly experiencing the connection between effort and reward, animals, whether they're rats or people, default to laziness. Calorie-burning effort is, after all, something evolution has shaped us to avoid whenever possible.

 

A hard thing is something that requires daily deliberate practice.

 

You can quit, but you can't quit until the season is over.

 

A culture of grit

 

If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it. If you're a leader, and want the people in your organization to be grittier, create a gritty culture.

 

“…when you go to a place where basically everybody you know is getting up at four in the morning to go to practice, that's just what you do. It's now big deal. It becomes a habit.”

 

“…there's a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity - the basic human drive to fit in - because if you're around a lot of people who are gritty, you're going to act grittier.”

“Over time and under the right circumstances, the norms and values of the group to which we belong become our own. We internalize them. We carry them with us. The way we do things around here and why eventually becomes The way I do things and why.

 

And that's exactly why culture and identity are so critical to understanding how gritty people live their lives. The logic of anticipated costs and benefits doesn't explain their choices very well. The logic of identity does.

 

 

 

 

“I simply wasn't going to fail because I didn't care or didn't try. That's not who I am.”

 

 

 

“Failures are going to happen, and how you deal with them may be the most important thing in whether you succeed. You need fierce resolve. You need to take responsibility. You call it grit. I call it fortitude.”

About Rob

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Hi, I’m Rob and I love drawing cartoons. I’ve been putting together these Illustrated Booknotes for a while now, and I’d be happy to do some illustrations for you too.