First of all, childhood is generall far too early to know what we want to be when we grow up...
I know, for instance, that when I was in second of third grade, I wanted to be a missionary. I remember thinking I could see parts of the world in doing so, and I still have a picture I drew of myself preaching as a missionary on foreign soil. It was later in life that I found other interests, and the world for an adult is a scarier place than for a child (perceptions and all of that, I suppose). However, when I came to Joplin, I had a couple of opportunities to fulfill that childhood dream anyway. I traveled to Honduras on two occasions and spent over a week each time in that Central American setting (Read more about the Girl in the Blue Dress.).
In high school and college, I developed some skills in public speaking, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. After some years in the tourism industry, went back to college to earn a second degree in Elementary Education. Since then, I have used my childhood dreams and my current strengths to preach in area churches and in teaching elementary school.
To make a long explanation shorter, my childhood ideas for a career did affect my choices later on. I suppose that's what Duckworth explains as her third, above. So I guess I see her first as being only being true through the disclaimer lens of the third, and not wholly true by itself. It is, however, her second point that kind of gets in my craw. But again, there is explanation to go along with it, so I'm being unfair in judging the statement without its accompanying notes.
Duckworth wants me to do more than just will myself to like something. She encourages me to experiment instead, pointing out that action is the key to developing interest in something. I get that point, but I think she downplays the introspection part. I can point to many times that I have jumpstarted my interest in teaching because of introspection. I constantly reflect on the ways and reasons I do things. It's the point of Joplin Schools' focus on the PDSA (Plan - Do - Study - Action) cycle. In the interest of improvement, as stakeholders, it is important to us that we constantly debrief ourselves and tweak our systems, looking forward to the next time a situation appears.
Is it "a drag" that passions don't come to us all at once, as epiphanies, without the need to actively develop them? Maybe. But the reality is that our early interests are fragile, vaguely defined, and in need of energetic, years-long cultivation and refinement.
First, they set a stretch goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weaknesses. They intentionally seek out challenges they can't yet meet.
Then, with undivided attention and great effort, experts strive to reach their stretch goal. Interestingly, many choose to do so while nobody's watching.
As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong - so they can fix it - than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is essential as its immediacy.
I'm happy to see some of that coming to a true balance now with common sense. With all that has been written about Growth Mindset, we now see that the identification and correction of mistakes is something to be celebrated. In our classroom, we see the identification of a mistake to be a stepping stone to success. Students who find and fix failures are held up as positive examples to the rest of the class. One of the things I lost in the tornado, five years ago, was a poster I picked up from Cape Kennedy. The poster quoted the Apollo 13 mission: "Mistakes are not an option." I loved the sentiment of that poster and what it meant for getting our astronauts back home, but it really had no place on the wall of my classroom.
Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.
At any rate, what comes next?
And...then what? What follows mastery of a stretch goal?
Then experts start alll over again with a new stretch goal.
One by one, these subtle refinements add up to dazzling mastery.