Grit

Some thoughts and introspection.

In February 2017, after a bit over 4 very long years, I successfully defended my PhD. Since November 2016 (4 months roughly) , I’ve been working for a startup in Paris (SparkUp).

These 4 months that I’ve been working (again) have been illuminating for me. I feel and am so much better than I’ve been in the 4 years of my thesis. Yes, maybe this is the honeymoon period, but the difference is so great that it can’t been explained away by this. I am not depressed, at all. I don’t hate, loathe, punish or even really dislike myself any more. I wake up early easily, I have routines, I eat better, I socialize and laugh a lot, being tidy is no longer a chore.

The benefits of having a job I like on my state of mind are so flagrant that I just realized that I really deeply hated what I had been doing for years, but I hadn’t really realized, or didn’t really want to realize it. I definitely knew how unhappy I am, but I had completely lost perspective of how it doesn’t need to be like this.

What got me to the point of wanting to get a PhD is probably a rather typical for the sport mixture of ambition, vanity and insecurity about my professional attractiveness. But even if I had some signs before, I am just truly realizing that these motives are not what made me get the damn thing. What got me there is pure, old-fashioned pigheadedness and grit.

If you need or like suffering for painful, ambitious long-term goals that don’t necessarily match your personality, I have good news for you. Apparently, Grit is really in fashion currently, amassing 10M views on this Ted talk by Angela Duckworth, author of the very successful book (‘Grit: the power of passion and perseverance’), which I haven’t needed to read personally.

As for me, I think after the PhD I have earned myself enough credit to never need to force myself again to endure any unsatisfying situation for more than a couple of weeks. At least now I know it doesn’t have to be like this :)

If you want to share your enthusiasm about this, you can spread the word on twitter.
If you have comments or want to get in touch, make me feel special at @torobotaki!