What’s on My Reading List; Grit:  Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

What’s on My Reading List; Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of SuccessGrit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book started out great. Her explanation of grit and the examples provided were very interesting. I feel that people will be encouraged to read that perseverance can win over talent or skill. Perseverance puts the ball in my court instead of in my heredity or environment. How badly do I want to be great? How hard am I willing to work for it? Imagine if everyone could get that and get the voice in their head lined up with that thought. Wow!

The book then turned very ordinary and repetitive and even sounded
just like plain common sense over scientific research. There is already plenty written on the 10,000 hours, or as this author calls it deliberate practice (yes, the deliberate part does make it somewhat different, I get it, but not enough different to spend so much time on it). Here was one of the low lights . . . If you keep at something you may eventually get it right, but if you quit you won’t ever get there. Um, duh.

One of my favorite quotes . . .“…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people imagine….you’ve got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people….Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

Staying in love is the key.

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Indoor Dinner Beach Party

“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” ~Henry David Thoreau

This has been a long – no – the longest – coldest winter I can remember.  Looking forward to spring break and ready for the weather to turn we decided to bring our beach party inside for our family dinner night.

The menu:
Turkey burgers 2 ways
Baked Beans
Potato Chips
Kale Chips

For a beach party you can’t forget the décor: beach decorations, paper plates, beach boys music, and of course, a beach ball.  We made up fun beach ball games around the dinner table. Here are several variations of our silly games.

Clear the area of any breakables.  We knocked over a few drinks.  You just have to relax and laugh it off.  No Type A behavior allowed.

Pass the ball around the table and each time you get the ball you must say:

  • a food in alphabetical order (apple, banana, cheesecake)
  • change it up when the first and last letter are the same reverse the direction of the ball pass
  • counting by 1’s, then 2’s, then 3’s and so on (make this more difficult by not starting on evenly divisible numbers.  Start counting by 2’s on an odd number, by 5’s on 34, etc.)

If you drop the ball or mess up you are OUT!

Olive Turkey Burgers

Printable Version

  • 20 oz. ground turkey
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup jumbo green olives, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Mix the above ingredients.
  • Form into 6 burgers.
  • Line a pan or your grill with tin foil. Make small slits in the tin foil for juice to run through. (If broiling use a drip pan). Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  • Broil or grill until desired doneness (medium or medium well is recommended).
Awesome Turkey Burgers
Printable Version

  • 20 oz. ground turkey
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. fresh mint, minced
  • 1 Tsp. ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Mix the above ingredients.
  • Form into 6 burgers.
  • Grill or broil until desired doneness (medium or medium well is recommended)

To Do or Not To Do That is the Question

How is it that some people get so much farther ahead than others?  Some executives complete endless projects while some make projects endless. Some moms and dads get breakfast made, kids clothed, school bags packed, 2 loads of laundry done, kitchen cleaned up, grocery shopping complete and all of the errands run, all before 1:00 when others are just getting started at 1:00.

It would be easy to say, they have more help, they have better genes, magic worker fairies secretly appear
and get stuff done for them.  Here’s their real secret.  Are you ready?  They make To-Do lists.  Successful people set goals and put them in writing and the majority of them make daily To-Do lists.

Why create daily To-Do lists?

  1. To prioritize what you focus your time on.
  2. To eliminate procrastination.
  3. To be the driver of your own bus
  4. To achieve more of your goals.

Knowing this, but not diligent about doing it EVERY day myself I went searching for a To-Do app for my iPad.  I read a review from Lifehack and went with their top pick.  Instantly I was in love with their pick Any.do.  It has everything you could want

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s simple
  3. It’s visual
  4. It sends you rewards for using the app
  5. And ….it does this (I don’t even know what to call it, but I love it)
Happiness is an app calling you gorgeous every day.  The message changes throughout the day:  “Good morning Gorgeous”, “Good day Princess”.  A girl could get used to getting spoiled by her app.  It just makes me smile and  makes me want to use the To-Do list.
Is one of your resolutions to get more stuff done? 

Stumped on a Gift? Give the Gift of Your Time.

The hubby and I enjoyed a feel good movie on date night this week, Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn.  Man, he is tall!  If you were wondering, just like me, is he really that big or is everyone else puny?  Vince Vaughn is 6’5″.  As you can tell, it was lady’s choice.  Even though it averaged about 2 stars in the ratings, to all the men out there who might not want to go to this movie, you will leave the theater feeling good.  Take your wife, girlfriend, significant other…the night will end good for you ;).

There is a part of the movie that really got me thinking this holiday season. 
Vince Vaughn’s character visits one of his biological children in a nursing home.  The nurse coaxes him with this advice, “just tell him whatever you are thinking.”  After spending the entire day with the boy he is leaving the facility and passes by the nurse again.  He says to her “I didn’t say one word.”  She replies, “you did good.”

There are a lot of people out there who need our help and not just financially.  They just need someone by their side.  You may know a few.  A neighbor, a distant relative, maybe the parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent of a friend who doesn’t make it home for the holidays anymore.  What would it take to ask them to join you for a cup of coffee.

Maybe it’s not someone you know, maybe it’s a stranger.  My husband and I were in a Starbucks in the heart of the D.  At the table beside us was two men.  One, was clearly living on the streets.  He wore a shoe on one foot and one half of a boot on the other. His companion had clean clothes and cash.  They talked like they were old friends.  I marveled at the mutual respect the two men shared.  Both left the coffeehouse feeling great about themselves. 

I am not recommending that you go to Detroit and befriend the first person you come across on a corner, but for those who want to make a difference, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.

Detroit area volunteer opportunities:


Children’s Hospital Volunteers provide a wonderful gift to patients and their families by offering their time, their presence, their smile, and kind gestures that can draw a smile or even a giggle from the child, making their day as normal and happy as possible. 

A Time to Help  A Time To Help has staged more than 100 monthly projects ranging from building houses, delivering meals, beautifying city streets, running adoption fairs, repairing homeless shelters, packing food, and hosting an annual Christmas party to a shelter for battered women. 

Assistance finding a place to volunteer:

Volunteer Match  Find a cause that lights you up. Get in touch with a nonprofit that needs you.

Network for Good  Some of the best reasons to give are the ones you may not have considered — the ones that make it worth your while to go that extra step. People who have spent time volunteering for a cause report that they get back in satisfaction and joy more than they ever expend in inconvenience or effort — what you get back is immeasurable.

What Do We Value?

Based on my observations of this week I am left to wonder what do we value? 

I was in a technical train the trainer session where the instructor was using her own laptop to do the demonstrations.  When it came to showing everyone how to log all the way out effectively the big screen displayed her chosen home page which was Yahoo.  The headliner was a photo of a car buried in snow in Texas.  Everyone joked about how “lucky we are” to not have been hit by this snow blast.  I was the only one instantly concerned that a snow storm was bigger news than the loss of a legacy, Nelson Mandela.  Not only was his death not the headliner, he was not listed in the top 10 “trending now” articles.  Not just at that moment, but all day long he was absent from the landing page.

Snow, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and other nonsense was more interesting to us, by the count of searches on Yahoo, than the 95 year life of this anti-apartheid icon.  Even if we weren’t alive to watch his release from prison, weren’t we curious?  Who was this Nobel Peace Prize recipient?  Why is he on the news?

Seth Godin posted a tribute on the evening of Mandela’s death and many people posted, liked, and shared quotes on social media; however, to most, we did not value his contribution enough to look further than the 30 second newscast.  Please take a moment to find out more about the first black president of South Africa who fought so diligently against racism.  Think about your values.  What do you do to show the world what you believe in? 

Quotable Mandela:

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”
“If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.”

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Contribute to one of Mandela’s Foundations.

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