“I don’t know about you, but I’m really bad at being self-disciplined about things I don’t care about. For me, and I suspect for many, hard work and resilience can only happen when there is a strong desire. Grit is thus downstream from longing. People need a powerful why if they are going to be able to endure any how.”
–David Brooks, from The New York Times on Angela Duckworth’s book Grit
This morning, I found the following email waiting for me. It was a continuation of a conversation at the end of yesterday where one young lady shared her continuing struggles to find her own “powerful why.” This coupled with the above article provided a perfect storm for me, further galvanizing my own grit, my own longing to make kids’ educational experiences more than a G.P.A.
I am protecting her identity because I did not secure her permission to publish, and even though I asked for her forgiveness in advance–out of fear that she may be upset with me, I hope she understands that her talking about “nothing” told me everything, and that she did for me that which she seeks to do for all–help us through our trials. Deeply moved, I had to share.
Syrie,Okay, so this whole speech thing is actually crazy stressing me out. (Not the writing the speech, I could do that easy.) I really am dead set on finding something I want to talk about. I don’t want to settle for a topic I kinda care about. After thinking through my life and thinking through things that have really made me mad, I couldn’t find any I thought of as “injustices” so I googled injustices and that didn’t help me either. I know it doesn’t necessarily have to be an injustice, but none of them settled right. I guess I’ve given up caring about things (I know, sad right?) and that thought almost scares me. Maybe part of what’s holding me back is my peers judging me, but no matter the situation I know that’s something I have to get over so when thinking about this I’ve been trying to do my best to keep that out of my head. But this is a real fear I have, I HATE people judging me. But I’m not afraid of conquering my fears, in-fact I’ve spent a lot of this year getting over things that used to scare me. And no, I’m not doing my speech on judgment, that wouldn’t work well. Also I judge people too, don’t want to be hypocritical, and it’s human nature. Then I thought about things I care about just in general, I care about my grades, how I’m going to make money in the future, and that people around me feel comfortable. That last one seems like a great start right? Yeah, well that’s a pretty broad topic and I couldn’t narrow it down to what specifically that meant. Which brings me back in a circle, to me writing an injustice speech about nothing and hoping a few people get something out of it. I like this idea, but because of past conversations, no one would even understand what’s happening. What I care about most is other people, and supporting them through their trials in life. And the worlds biggest injustice is that every single one of us has these trials. That’s what I truly think. I want these trials to be easy to get through and people to just purely enjoy the life that’s set in front of them. The only way to make people realize this though is to set up a piece of writing that can be taken a different way by every individual who reads it. So completely different that one might think, “Apple,” while the other thinks, “Loaf of bread!” But I want people to get that meaning. Therefore, I am doing my speech on nothing, so that I can do everything.Welp, I think I just answered my question. Just needed to rant it out. Got it from here, Sy.