A gray, cold, rainy week with breaks of sunshine peeking through. On my way home from work, I saw the daffodils out in bloom, their brightness and color contrasting against the slate river, cloudy sky, and bare trees. A sign that more and more color, warmth, and sunshine is on its way.
Here’s what I’ve been eating and reading this week:
Menu planning (in case you need a bit of inspiration):
Sunday: Easter dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus en croute (from The Silver Palate Cookbook), green beans
Monday: Dinner out with the family at Tosconos (celebrating Marathon Monday) — mussels in a buttery herb broth, bruschetta, ravioli with a ground duck-tomato sauce
Wednesday: Black bean, chicken, and bell pepper quesadillas
Thursday: Mac & cheese (feeling super low on energy tonight)
Friday: Lemon-butter cod (with a side of leftover chicken enchiladas made by my parents to round things out) – a bit of a hodge podge on a low-energy night
Saturday: Classic lasagna with a kale and broccoli slaw
What I’ve been reading or dipping in to this week:
HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (based on a book I’d wanted to read years ago, but I never quite managed to get my hands on it).
Grit by Angela Duckworth
I found my way to this book based on the recommendation of a few podcast episodes I’ve listened to lately (a few of which were challenging Duckworth’s conclusions), and while the book was decently interesting, I don’t see it cracking my favorites list this year. The premise is basically that grit, or how gritty a person is, is more predictive of their success than intelligence or other more traditional markers. Grit is based on passion (sticking with an idea, interest, or pursuit over the long run, versus flitting from idea to idea or job to job) and perseverance (tackling your goals even in the face of disappointment and setbacks).
She had a memorable phrase for describing the big picture: “Talent x effort = skill. Skill x effort = achievement,” which emphasizes the role of effort in achieving our goals while not neglecting talent, intelligence, or other qualities that differ from person to person. She also developed a “grit scale,” a measurable tool available on her website.
The book is roughly divided into two parts: the first details the rationale for her thesis and the research that yielded the data supporting her outcome. The second half argues that people can learn to be more gritty in their lives. To be honest, the second half seemed to drag on a bit, boring me despite it’s billing as the useful “learn to become more gritty” section. Suggestions for developing grit include identifying passions, practicing skills within your field of passion, and connecting with a higher sense of purpose. Meh – these steps and her description of how and why they increase grittiness didn’t really resonate with me, and three quarters of the way through the book, I was really feeling it was more of the same. While the book itself gets a lukewarm review, she also did a Ted talk, which is worth listening to. Keeping this short and sweet gives you the chance to expose yourself to the idea without investing in needing to read the full book.