grace under pressure

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Lately I have not been living up to my name. There has been no grace shown to my loved ones or myself as work and life seem to keep throwing lowballs all around.

I’ve been reading/hearing a lot about grit lately. Passion and perseverance in the pursuit of long term goals. In the freakonomics podcast on the topic, grit expert Angela Duckworth says there are four traits that gritty people have in abundance: interest, practice, purpose, and hope.

And I’m hung up on hope. Or lack thereof.

I am not a particularly gritty person. My score on the grit scale was a measly 2 out of 5. It comes out to about the 10th percentile of the general population.

Two things stuck out to me as I listened to the podcast, though. The first being the idea of reference bias. We are our own worst critics, and the standards we judge ourselves by are probably much higher than objective measures. When I think about how much grit it takes to finish medical school, run a half marathon, and start over after a divorce,I am reminded that my 2/5 is relative, and also an underestimation of my grittiness. Yes, I get distracted easily and new projects will always be more fun to me than following things through to completion, but that does not make me worthless.

Which brings me to revelation #2: Shame is not a productive emotion.

In yoga, they are always telling you to let go of things that do not serve you. Shame is a heavy load that most of bear unnecessarily. I know it’s broken me more times than I care to count.

Duckworth goes on to say that it’s important to learn to substitute nuance for novelty. It will always be human nature to prefer the thrill of something new. But there is importance and even pleasure in the nuances. I think once you let go of the shame, it’s easier to focus on the interest and the purpose of your goal.

So shed your shame, feelings of guilt or worthlessness or not-enoughness. Feel yourself become a little lighter. We all need a little grace sometimes.

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grace under pressure

42. Podcasts

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I’m status post a 10 hour round trip solo road trip, and feel like it’s my duty to give a shout out to these podcast friends who kept me company along the way.

I lean toward podcasts that tell a story and really delve deep into someone’s life or teach me something new. Nobody wants to feel like they’re wasting their time when there is so much amazing content out there, whether it’s in the form of music, TV shows, podcasts, or audiobooks.

So to all the commuters, dishwashers, and dog-walkers, here’s a few that have helping me learn/laugh/think:
 


Warning: very NPR-heavy as their content and production is just so good. I swear they don’t pay me (because they have no money).

 

1. Invisibilia: Alright, alright. I was late joining the bandwagon, but it’s good for a reason. It is “a series about the invisible forces that shape human behavior.” My favorites were “Secret History of Thoughts” – the segment on “locked-in man,” and “How to Become Batman.”

2. Death, Sex, & Money: I just devoured these little 20 minute forays into other people’s lives. “A podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation,” Highlights included, “Cheating Happens,” and the interview with Ken Jeong, who had the sweetest things to say about his wife.

3. Call Your Girlfriend: “A podcast for long distance besties everywhere,” Ann Friedman (of pie chart fame) and her bestie, Aminatou Sow, chat about smart girl things and help you realize it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your period, diva cups, and the presidential debates all in one phone conversation.

4. Magic LessonsIn case you didn’t realize, Elizabeth Gilbert (my eat, pray, love hero) wrote a book expanding on her TED talk on creativity (I know you’re thinking, “real original!“). It might be a marketing scheme to sell more books, but if you’re like anyone I know and are made to create, it’s a wonderful listen.

5. This American Life: Because duh. And also because how much do I love Ira Glass.

6. Planet Money: Finance in general is a topic that both terrifies and fascinates me because I know so little about it. “Pay Patients, Save Money” was a really interesting take on one company’s approach to battling skyrocketing healthcare costs.

 

It’s not a definitive list, but it’s a good start, I think. My commute is 3x as long since I’ve moved, so please let me know if I’m missing out anything!
 
 
 


Photo: Woods Canyon Lake. I caught a fish.

42. Podcasts