Angela Lee Duckworth has a quotient for why some students succeed and some don’t. Amazingly, the determining factor most likely to predict success is not IQ, socioeconomic status, or talent. It’s grit.
In her intriguing TED Talk entitled “The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” Duckworth details the study she executed in various settings such as West Point, National Spelling Bees, and inner-city schools, trying to predict who would be most likely to graduate, excel, and persist. Time and time again, she discovered that a person’s grit was the most accurate indicator of long-term success.
Duckworth describes grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals… Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Naysayers might say that obviously this grit must be combined with a good deal of talent to reap success, but Duckworth’s studies indicate that “talent doesn’t make you gritty… in our data, grit is usually unrelated or even inversely related to measures of talent.” In other words, as quoted by many famous entrepreneurs such as Daniel Pink, “persistence trumps talent.”
So how can students grow or learn grit? Duckworth says the best idea she’s come across for building grit in kids is what’s known as the “growth mindset.” A growth mindset is “the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort.”
Students who study the brain and how it responds to challenges build grit naturally because after seeing what the brain can do, they “don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.”
What is your take on grit?
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