Passion can come from interest. For some people, it come from purpose. The author says that gritty people have both.
The author tells about a girl called Alex Scott who was diagnosed with brain cancer, and she made a lemonade stand for doctors so they could help cure cancer patients. When she died, other people started to make their own lemonade stands to support cancer research, making millions of dollars. The parents also made an organization to raise money for cancer research.
The author says that most people are interested in whatever they’re doing first, then they practice, then they realize how they could benefit others by doing what they like, as found by Benjamin Bloom.
Gritty people always have a deeper purpose to their goals. Their purposes are different, but they always mention other people in it. So it’s about what you can do to other people, not just yourself.
The author says humans beings have evolved to look for a purpose. We’re social animals because when we’re together we’re more likely to survive.
She asked 16k adults to do the Grit test, and asks them if what life they’re doing is out of purpose or out of enjoyment. The people who leaned more on purpose also had better results on the Grit scale.
Sometimes, people use grit for a purpose that they might think is useful for other people, but instead kill a ton more. So the author notes that an actual positive and beneficial purpose isn’t an absolute requirement for grit.
Some people have a goal that they think really affects the world, so they keep on doing it no matter how small or tiring it is. The author asks a bunch of workers what they think their job is to them, and the few people who call their job a calling is much grittier than others and enjoy their work more.
Studs Terkel found that a lot of people want a calling, but can’t see their job as more than normal work for a living.
For example, a garbage collector says that there are other jobs that might look better or be more comfortable, but they think that their own job is very important to society.
In the end, it’s not about the type of job or the money you get from it, it’s all about how the person believes that their work is important.
Callings can be found by looking at whatever you do and ask “What does this job do that contributes to society?”. A lot of people think that to find their calling, they need to keep switching their work to find what is useful for the world, but that’s not how it works.
You can get a calling over time. People might think that their job is only a way to earn money, but one they look at it deeper, they find out that it’s useful to other people.
The author made a summer program for students with an education disadvantage. She thought it was fun, but it wasn’t until she went home that she realized that this program could be life-changing to others.
She had no money and no support from anyone to make it a legitimate organization, so she and her friend Philip started to ask businesses and restaurants for donations. They had the grit to do all that because they know their purpose isn’t for themselves, but for others.
Adam Grant says that most people think that self-oriented purposes are opposites to other-oriented purposes. But actually, they’re independent and you can have neither, or both.
Bill Damon says that people who have found a purpose usually has seen a role model doing the the same thing with purpose. In fact, he hasn’t found anyone with a purpose develop that haven’t seen a role model yet.
He also says that people find purposes by discovering a problem in the world. Sometimes it can come from personal loss or others’ loss. And that the belief that they could make a change.
The author says if people want to start developing a purpose, you can use three steps. A David guy recommends that the first step is you look at you current job and see how it can contribute to society. Amy Wrzesniewski (another difficult name in this book, like the Csik guy) says that you can slowly change your current work so that it connects to your core values. The third step is to find inspiration from a role model.
When the author was little, she didn’t like how her mum invites strangers to Thanksgiving and gives them her and her sister’s toys. She would throw tantrums and say that her mum doesn’t love her, but the mum replies with “You have so much and they have so little”.
A while later, when she made the summer camp program instead of going to medical school, her dad says “Why do you care about poor children? They’re not family and you don’t even know them.” Now she understands why her mum gives stuff to the needy. They both found a purpose.
Previous chapters: Chapter 7. Next chapter: Chapter 9.