Getting gritty with it

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.*
Pema Chödrön

The royal road to self-improvement is … a form of perseverance that, far from bring put off by failure, accepts it as essential.**
Anna Katharina Schaffner

What I am enjoying about Anna Katharina Schaffner’s book on self-improvement is the long view she provides of different themes considered necessary over millennia for our development.

I’ll be mentioning all ten of these soon as I think that each is important for growth.

A number of these have been promulgated as the only important thing to pursue. It’s also noticeable that different times bring different emphases.

In a time when we are struggling with resilience, one of these has popped up in the form of Angela Duckworth’s Grit^ – now on my reading wishlist. Duckworth names grit’s attributes as being purpose beyond ourselves, resilience, learning from failure, having a growth mindset, and valuing success. (Watch this space.)

I list them here as points to reflect upon (perhaps think smaller rather than bigger):

What do you want to bring into the world that will improve the lives of others?
Which difficult experiences have you gone through that have made you stronger?
Which failures stand out as being pivotal for learning and growth?
How do you define your possibility for growth?
What are some of the important finishing lines you have crossed?

Some people get lucky and do what they want to do without being tested, for everyone else there’s a demanding path of inner growth.

*Pema Chödrön, from Sam Radford’s blog: Killing the moment by controlling the experience;
**From Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
^I’d also recommend Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.

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