The Dirty Little Secret About Grit

May 4, 2013

Grit Matters

I love the saying, “It only took me twenty years to be an overnight success.” Recognition from others can come in an instant, but building a success often takes years. And it takes grit.

Grit is the perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals. It is about your deliberate practice even when facing obstacles–obstacles that may cause others to turn away and give up. Grit is a difference-maker, according to Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It explains why one person with the same intellectual gifts as another can accomplish so much more.

Duckworth conducted studies about grit in many organizations, including West Point, where the students have been getting psychological testing done on them for years. What Duckworth found is that grit was by far the strongest indicator of the cadets’ ability to finish the summer training program called the “Beast Barracks.” At the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth found that grit mattered more than intelligence in terms of GPA performance, too.

It’s not enough to be smart. If you’re smart and don’t have to work that hard to be successful, you may get in the habit of not working hard. You may give up too easily when obstacles arise.

How much grit do you have? Take Duckworth’s Grit Survey and find out.

Overnight successes rarely happen overnight. They may benefit from some good fortune, but they usually come from grit. Learn to look for and appreciate grit–in yourself and others.



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