In our last +1, we talked about how I read a book.
More specifically, we focused on how I choose the books I read—which, I believe, is ALWAYS the most important first step in how to read a book.
In short, I said that I follow Joseph Campbell’s wisdom to “read the right books by the right people.”
Campbell tells us: “When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’—and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem—but he hasn’t said anything to you.”
Scientists would agree with this approach of trusting yourself and doing what really grabs you—with books and with other things in life.
In fact, Tal Ben-Shahar connects the academic research on what’s called “self-concordant goals” to Joseph Campbell to make the point.
Here’s how Tal puts it in his great book Happier: “As research on self-concordant goals illustrates, Campbell’s belief is much more than a superstition. When we follow our bliss, we not only enjoy the journey, we are also more successful.”
In the book, Tal walks us through the importance of goals in general and the importance of what psychologists call “self-concordant” goals in particular.
“Self-concordant goals” are “the goals we pursue out of deep personal conviction and/or a strong interest.”
As it turns out, Angela Duckworth echoes this wisdom in HER great book, Grit.
Here they are: Interest + Practice + Purpose + Hope.
The first, MOST IMPORTANT aspect of Grit?
If we want to cultivate the sustainable passion required to cultivate grit (whether that’s for important, long-term goals or simply getting through a book!), we need to be intrinsically drawn to what we do. It needs to be, as we just discussed, SELF-CONCORDANT.
All of which leads us to Today’s +1.
How are your goals?
Are they clear? Are they self-concordant?
Do they fire you up?
Let’s not read books or do other such things because we think we “should.”
Let’s do the things that grab us.
With gritty joy.