Angela Duckworth, former teacher, current psychology professor & researcher, uses the term ‘grit’ to describe the passion and perseverance needed to successfully achieve challenging and personally meaningful long-term goals.
Drawing from her research, Duckworth states hard work and effort are more important than natural talent when it comes to predicting success. People who continue to develop/apply their skills and persevere in times of adversity show grit.
Our ‘grittiness’ (or our level of passion and perseverance) is influenced by our genes and the experiences we’ve had– however, it can be improved when we develop our interests and identify a personally meaningful and challenging long-term goal to work towards.
While we’re working towards the successful achievement of this end goal, we’ll undoubtedly face challenges and failures along the way. This is when grit kicks in.
Grit helps us view these challenges and failures as part of the process to achieving the end goal. Gritty people see these hurdles as something to be learnt from and they don’t give up.
To stay motivated to achieve the end goal we need small, achievable daily goals that will give us an opportunity to succeed and make progress.
Schools and parents can help develop grit and resilience in children by providing supportive, caring environments in which children are encouraged to challenge themselves and persevere when they fail.
To find out more about grit, including just how ‘gritty’ you are, you can explore Duckworth’s website which has some interesting media and information.
Of course, while grit may be necessary for success, it’s not sufficient alone. It’s important to acknowledge that some people have more opportunities open to them due to numerous factors e.g. wealth, connections, health, freedom. The world is not a level playing field.
*Duckworth also co-founded ‘Character Lab’, one of the research hubs highlighted in an earlier post on Positive Education Resources.
Thanks for reading!