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.

2 thoughts on “Getting gritty with it

  1. Here’s a tiny-snip of Joseph Campbell that seems to have a place among these sages of self-improvement… a master of demystifying myth and so much more. His wisdom always plucks my soul-strings. I shared this line, (elsewhere) recently, and so it’s top of mind to carryover to your page. Enjoy, and thanks for another delightful-daily-doodle !

    “…Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes. ― Joseph Campbell, A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

  2. Wonderful, Donna. Thank you for reminding me of these words from Joseph Campbell. These words are so true and produce hope in us.

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