Like where did they get the– I think about it all the time. I think about it in the shower. I think about it in yoga when I’m supposed to not be thinking about anything, but I’m thinking about grit. Like Savasana pose, you’re supposed to be doing nothing and I’m like, I wonder where that, you know, is gonna– It is an obsession. The difference maybe between the way most people think about obsessions and the way gritty people think about obsessions is when they say, I love what I do, they love that they love what they do. There’s no sense in which they would trade that life for any other. And that’s how I feel about my own work.
BEN FRIED: Yeah, I think we have time for one more question, Should we?
ANGELA DUCKWORTH: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Hi. So a lot of your examples of people that have shown great grit, like Julia Child, she starts at 30 and then becomes this great success, they all seem to be underdogs that then succeed. Do they have to be?
ANGELA DUCKWORTH: You know, you don’t have to be an underdog. But I am fascinated by underdog psychology. And I’ll say these words to you and I wonder if they’ll resonate. There is characteristic of many, many grit paragons that I’ve studied a sort of, I’ll show you rebel– you know, you know what? I don’t think you’re really cut out to be a programmer. Just this fear. It’s an aggression almost. And I felt that when I was failing my neurobiology class, my freshman year of college. And my very well-meaning teaching assistant, my TA said, you really should withdraw from this course because you’re going to get an F on your transcript.
And you don’t know this yet because you’re 18, that’s not a good thing to have. And I felt a kind of a hot anger I mean, I marched out of that office to the registrar’s office and I not only didn’t drop the course, I declared my major in neurobiology that very day. What the hell is that? The I’ll show you response I think is fascinating. I don’t fully understand it. But it’s fascinating that the same exact experience can either lead people to feel like I’m a loser, I give up, or the precisely opposite psychological reaction. And I think it’s not necessary, but it’s very, very common to paragons of grit.
BEN FRIED: I think we’re out of time. Hey Angela, thank you so much.
ANGELA DUCKWORTH: Thank you, Ben.
BEN FRIED: That was fascinating and phenomenal.