Have you seen Angela Lee Duckworth’s Ted Talk video on “grit”? She talks about how she found out that there was a common quality that makes people from all fields or walks of life successful. The quality she was talking about was ‘grit’. Grit is perseverance for long -term goals that is powered by passion.
Passion is an interesting word, because if you try to chase success without passion, you probably would still get that A* but it’s not going to satisfy you. You might have got it because your teacher or mentor trained you well and pushed you to perform. You may not know what’s bothering you but you will be pretty aware that you are missing out on what’s ‘wow’ about life.
So how do you determine what you are passionate about?
Let’s shift focus from your achievements, which would be your grades, merit scores, medals etc, to your accomplishments. Let me not take away anything from your achievements and I know you have worked hard for them. However, achievements would matter only if that is what you want and depends on why you want it.
Achievements will have no big role unless you have thought about what you have accomplished. Patty O’Grady in Psychology Today gives a good account of the difference between achievement and accomplishment. Give it a read.
During a field study, I met Arjun(name changed for discretion), who was not engaging with life. He was not happy with the people around him, worried about his grades even though he always had been good at it, and hardly ventured out to socialize or play. However, after several interactions, he realized that he had always been happy about being able to communicate with empathy towards others, he was happy that he was trustworthy. He felt good when teachers praised him for the way he grasped a particular area of interest. Those had been his accomplishments. Once he focused on what made him happy, he could relate to his achievements and life around him particularly well.
When you see that you have the ability to make a roadmap for your future,
Or, sometimes even when you stand up for someone in need, you sense satisfaction that will stay with you for life.
The success that you achieve as a result of this satisfaction is who you are. It would fuel your determination no matter what your challenges may be.