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Gotta Get Gritty! Here’s How

Psychologist Angela Duckworth has found a secret to success — and how to get it. 

She calls it GRIT.

This is something we need to teach our kids!

What is GRIT?!

In her research, Duckworth discovered that “no matter the domain, the highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction.”

These high achievers were special because of a combination of passion and perseverance.

Duckworth elaborates on the concept: 

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. 

Grit is having stamina. 

Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years….and working really hard to make that future a reality. 

Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Grit is a stable trait that doesn’t require immediate positive feedback.

So, how can a person get gritty? And then grittier?

Duckworth admits she doesn’t really know the answer to this question. 

For one thing, talent doesn’t make a person gritty. Or grittier than another person. Data shows grit is unrelated — or even inversely related — to measures of talent.

There must be some place to start?

Duckworth says to get gritty, one needs to adopt a growth mindset

A person who possesses a growth mindset believes the ability to learn is not fixed. That one can change ability levels with effort. And most importantly, that failure is NOT a permanent condition. Check out the scoop on growth mindset here on my blog.

To see how much grit you’ve got, click here to take Duckworth’s Grit Quiz.

Want to know how to encourage and grow grit in yourself, and the people you love? Here’s how:

  1. Follow your passion. Duckworth doesn’t believe people can become truly gritty at things they don’t love, so we need to find and help ourselves and others cultivate passions.

  2. Develop a sense of purpose. It’s never too late to cultivate this, says Duckworth. She claims her grit paragons are pursuing things that have purpose — much deeper than intention — the nature of their goals is “special”.

  3. Have hope. Duckworth explains that grit depends on the hope, or expectation that our own efforts can improve our future.

  4. Adopt a growth mindset.

  5. Surround yourself with positive people who, in one way or another, encourage you to keep at your goals. And you must encourage others in their goals too!

For more tips about how “to grow gritty kids,” I urge you to check out this article on the Santa Maria College blog.


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