“Grit” by Angela Duckworth is a great analysis on why we do what we do and what drives us to do that. Through her studies of different groups to just noticing her family and friends, she opens up your mind to how our passions define our purpose.
One point in the book that stands out is how we use certain tools like a career path to really explore our passion and how those tools itself may be misconstrued as the passion. She used the example of a journalist I admire, Jeffrey Gettleman, who was the longtime East Africa bureau chief and correspondent for The New York Times. In college, he fell in love with East Africa. It wasn’t until a professor told Jeffrey his writing talent could translate into a journalism career. That career path never crossed Jeffrey’s mind until he realized he could tell stories throughout East Africa. So Jeffrey’s passion is East Africa, not journalism, but journalism is the vessel able to carry his passion.
As a journalist myself, I realized not everyone is passionate about the field itself but more with what they’re covering. I’m a woman of color in the very white male-dominated environment of business journalism. Though I try to convince other journalists of color to join less diverse newsrooms like mine, they’re not interested. But they might just be interested in covering their own culture and using journalism as a vessel. I, on the other hand, use journalism for my love for writing, so I can write about any news stories (as long as I’m getting paid) and be fine with the content I’m producing. It’s evident in my career where I’ve reported on various topics, which tends to be unusual for a journalist of color because many decide to restrict their topics to what they’re passionate about. This book helped me piece this understanding together.
Overall, it’s a detailed analysis of passion and purpose, but with the scientific and experimental factors, you can also see how it plays out in your life. Are you following your passion? Have you abandoned projects though you thought it was for your passion? The author emphasizes how it’s OK to quit a project when the “natural stop” arrives. I ran a list of things in my mind that I thought I was passionate about, but apparently I wasn’t. It’s about finding that vessel to pursue passion. Sometimes, we’re using the wrong vessels due to our environment, e.g. a parent wanting us to play piano but we don’t practice then piano lessons are wasted. The book is an analysis that could help with your analysis on figuring out your passion and purpose and if it shows in your grit.