Grit- The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit- The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Author – Angela Duckworth
Print Copy | E-Book
I wish I read this book two years back. No one would have changed their career stream as many times as I did. My mom told me a lot of times to stabilize. I was foolish. I never listened to her. It took me this book to get that message pushed into my head.
One universal doubt has been answered in this book- “Should I pursue my passion or  what I am good at?
The answer is surprising. You can pursue either of them. It doesn’t really matter at all. You know what matters. Showing up. Showing up at your passion/ job which you are good at no matter what and sticking with it till the end. Passion evaporates quickly. It is the deliberate practise which differentiates normal people from the successful.
If you have a lot of goals and can’t decide which one to pursue she suggests that you write down all of them. Rank them. Stick to top 3 and forget the remaining. Now pursue these with grit.
The author also talks about how she inculcates grit in her daughter. I also want to do it as a family ritual to spend some time daily for grit.
The book overall is one hell of a motivation book where everything has been explained with real life stories from various realms. It is about those who saw the light at the end of the tunnel just because they were practising it day after day.
If you want to understand that grit really works in life, this is the book you need to go to.

My favourite quotes:

It isn’t suffering that leads to hopelessness. It’s suffering you think you can’t control.


Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.


as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.


Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.

Happy reading Grit and becoming gritty!

TED Talks – The official TED guide to public speaking

TED Talks – The official TED guide to public speaking
Print Copy
I am not going to give a public speech any time soon. I was just curious on what goes into the preparation of those speakers who give amazing talks.You will be surprised if I tell you that you should read it immediately. Even though the book is meant for public speaking, if you follow the techniques mentioned in the book for daily conversations, your life will change dramatically.
One night when I was reading this book, I had an eureka moment. I just realized that there are very few rules which we need to learn in life. Whatever might be your profession, whatever your life goals are, you need to apply the same rules based on the scenario.
For example, this book talks about public speaking. But what is the purpose of a public speech? It is to plant the seed of your idea in the mind of audience. What do I do when I write? I want to motivate you to take action on your life goals. Is goal of public speaking any different from writing? Leave about writing. What do you do when you are conversing? You are trying to make the other person agree with your views.
Ultimately, we all want to be heard and liked while we make a difference in the life of the other person.
The first half of the book talks only about this. I felt mesmerized and felt it to be unputdownable.
But after a while, it got boring when he talked about the font to be used and other minute things.
After bearing through that section, it again got interesting and became unputdownable.

Key Points


  • You can only use the tools that your audience has access to
  • Common traps
    • Don’t give a sales pitch – be a giver and not a taker
    • Don’t under prepare
    • Don’t boast about organization
    • Don’t perform inspiration- it has to be earned.
  • The through line
    • What is the precise idea you want to build in your audience
    • What is their take away
    • Overstuffed equals under explained
    • Show why it matters . . . what’s the question you’re trying to answer, the problem you’re trying to solve, the experience you’re trying to share
    • Flesh out each point you make with real examples, stories, facts
    • Great writing is all about the power of the deleted word.” It’s true of speaking too.


Five core tools that speakers use
  1. Connection
  2. Narration
  3. Explanation
  4. Persuasion
  5. Revelation

1.Connection- get Personal

    • Brown strongly recommends that you don’t share parts of yourself that you haven’t yet worked through
    • Humor hacks away the main resistance to listening to a talk.
    • Self-deprecation, in the right hands, is a beautiful thing

2. Narration -Tell a story

  • Tales of failure, awkwardness, misfortune, danger, or disaster, told authentically, are often the moment when listeners shift from plain vanilla interest to deep engagement.

3.Explanation – From Explanation to Excitement

  • Ask people if something is not clear in draft version
  • Do a jargon check

4.Persuasion – Reason can change minds forever

  • Persuasion means convincing an audience that the way they currently see the world isn’t quite right. And that means taking down the parts that aren’t working, as well as rebuilding something better

5.Revelation- Take my breath away

  • It is ok to be silent
  • Let the visuals do the talk


Ted Talks/ Ted speakers mentioned in the book:


    • Sophie Scott on laughter
    • Ken Robinson
    • Ron Gutman gave a TED Talk on smile
    • Sherwin nuland
    • Hans Rosling (revelatory animated charts),
    • David Deutsch (outside-the-box scientific thinking)
    • Nancy Kanwisher (accessible neuroscience
    • David Christian (history on a grand canvas).
    • Eat, Pray, Love
    • Mysteries of the Unseen World
    • Ross Lovegrove’s engaging walk through his nature-inspired design projects
    • David McCandless
    • George Monbiot
    • Julian Treasure -“How to speak so that people want to listen
    • Kelly McGonigal
    • Jon Ronson
    • Amy Cuddy
    • Jill Bolte Taylor
    • Neri Oxman
    • Woody Norris
    • Steve Schklair
    • Luca Turin
    • Roman Mars.
    • Mark ronson
    • Interview – Elon musk, bill gates
    • Sarah Kay
    • Clint Smith
    • Malcolm London
    • Suheir Hammad
    • Shane Koyczan
    • Rives
    • Billy Collins
    • Shane Koyczan’s
    • LESSIG
    • Beverly and Dereck Joubert
    • Photographer Frans Lanting
    • Hugh Herr

Get the Print Copy
Happy reading the official guide to public speaking!

Creative Problem Solving- Course Review

Creative Problem Solving
Created by: University of Minnesota
One day, while I was struggling to find a technical solution to a problem, I heard the most feasible solution from a high level manager. That was when it striked me that it is not subject matter expertise which is going to take you to the top but creative problem solving does.
As always, once I set my eyes on something, I feel restless till I do something about it. That was when I decided to take up this course.

Did this course cure my curiosity?

I was excited in the beginning when the speaker told me that the course is all about practicals. After finishing the first week, I was all set to execute my plan on how to eat creatively. Unfortunately I could not execute till date. But then, they show you the assignments submitted by other students which gives you even more creative ideas. The most creative idea I liked was, one of the students put the food he prepared in to an empty toothpaste tube and kept eating the entire day. Even though I did not execute them, it turned on my creativity faucet by looking at ideas like this.
Creativity exercises mentioned in the course:

  • Eat differently
  • Generate 10 different ways to use an object
  • Talk differently
  • Give differently

Apart from the practicals, there was a lot of theory which made a few weeks boring. A part of the theory was required to set the basics right. I felt most of it boring because I already knew about it. In order to just increase the lecture time, they even told how to click pictures.

The main take away for me from the course is


  • Start with divergent thinking and end with convergent thinking
  • If you are stuck with a problem, list its attributes to think creatively
  • When your mind fails to think creatively, look outside for inspiration.
  • Write 10 different ways to use an item daily
  • Maintain an idea journal
  • Diversify your knowledge

If I have to sum up the course in one sentence, it is the quote by Linus Pauling,
The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas
Why should you do this course?

  • You have no idea about how creativity works
  • You think that creativity is required only for artists
  • You want to do something different

Do you have to be creative to start this course?
No, the course material is put in layman terms that anyone can talk it with no difficulty at all.
Happy doing creative problem solving!

5 Goals for November

60 days for the year to end. I can either look back at the months passed and regret what I could not do or look forward for the coming 60 beautiful days to achieve what I could not so far.
Here I go back in time, evaluating the past 31 days, not to feel regret but appreciate the good things and learn from what didn’t work out.

October Review

I have started doing multiple courses on coursera but could finish only one on creativity.
Hoping to finish the remaining this month.
As a part of my expanding knowledge habit, I started with finance. I searched for blogs but could not find anything which will really help me to start off. I tried to watch finance Ted talks too ( and ( but haven’t learnt what finance is all about.
But after stumbling for the first few days, I learnt that finance is a very broad topic. If I say “I want to learn Finance”, I will reach no where.If I pinpoint at what I want to learn-  “I want to learn behavioral finance” or “I want to learn how to invest”, my goal is easier to achieve. That was when I stuck to these two courses – Introduction to Financial Markets and Behavioral Finance.
I created a huge list of things to be organized. If I have to measure the success of this habit by the frequency I executed the task or completion of checklist, I have failed. But if I measure it with how well I started organising, I have done a good job.

  • Songs: Instead of sitting with them for an entire evening, I am cleaning the ones which I don’t enjoy much as and when they come in the random playlist.
  • Photos: The media from WhatsApp is set on auto download mode in my phone. Some of the photos are spam. But some of them are memories to treasure for a lifetime. While a few others are jokes which will crack me up on any day. I set this exercise for once a month so that I even do my photo routine.
  • Clothes : I removed the clothes which I don’t wear regularly and organized the remaining by colours.
  • Papers: I used to throw papers all over the shelf. Now I bought files and I keep them in those files based on the category they belong to.
  • Catalogue: I created a notebook in Evernote and made note of what I am keeping where. If I need a document, I can search in my Evernote and it will tell me where it is available. This was the coolest thing I did this month.

The best thing about organising is it felt that I have a control over my life. I was organizing my mind while I was organizing the material stuff.
The habit which I failed to accomplish is placing them back where they belong to. So my frustration is not totally gone and I have to continue this exercise for a couple of months till I can call myself ‘The organized one’.
Learning Language:
Tamil alphabet:
Even though I am not able to read the entire word yet, I can recognize the vowels and consonants. Whenever I am on the road, I try to read whatever I find in Tamil. I am happy with the progress I made so far. Thanks to Memrise.
I discovered another app to learn French. In Duolingo and Memrise, I am learning the basics of French. I enrolled for intermediate level of French on Mondly to speeden my learning
I didn’t stick much with this habit. But then it turned out to be a good exercise. I want to continue this for as long as possible.
Creativity Exercise:
I was not able to stick to this habit regularly. But for whatever I did, I tried to be as creative as possible.

Goals for November


New goals:

Improve Logic Reasoning/ Critical Reasoning:
I want to solve problems which will improve my reasoning skills. Even though I was good at them once upon a time, I feel my brain is rusted now. It needs some cleaning to be as sharp as before. I am going to spend one hour everyday on this. I can’t really measure the success of this exercise, but then I know that it makes me feel smarter.
One good thing about me:
I had a one time feel good list. But now, I want to maintain a daily list. I want to appreciate myself for one good thing I did in the day. This in turn motivates me to do at least one good thing a day.
Give something:
It might not be possible everyday. But I want to find opportunities where I can provide some help for others.
Network Online:
I have come across the benefits of this in multiple articles. I want to do the exercise to test its utility. As a part of this exercise, I am going to drop a message or comment or email to other potential or established bloggers/writers.

Turning old goals into habits:

Ted talk:
During the last Ted talk challenge, I could watch only 4 amazing Ted talks. This time I have a list from the book Ted talk to see the best ones. I think, this exercise is definitely going to give me ideas which are going to change my life.
Stay positive:
Even though I already did it in the month of September, it was not really sufficient to make it a habit. October was again a stressful month with negativity lurking around all the time. I want to keep doing this once in every two months to make it a part of my life.
Wake up early:
I have been skipping exercise as I had been waking up late every other day. Exercise is highly correlated with staying cheerful and productive. This in turn depends on my wake up time. So I want to wake up early. It is tough to wake up at 5 in this winter. But around 6 is decent enough to aim for. This in turn requires me to sleep by 10.
Only two months are left this year and I have not finished many books which I started. I have a lot of plans on how to select new books but I want to first finish the ones I started. Hopefully from January, I will follow my new way of selecting books.
How was your October?
What are your goals for November?
Let me know in the comments section.
Happy November!