GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

By: Angela Ducksworth

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a book written by Angela Ducksworth. According to her, grit is a combination of perseverance and passion. The author discovered that grit is a better predictor of high accomplishment than IQ, talent, or other personality attributes.

Several studies have shown that IQ and talent alone do not predict success. The key to extraordinary performance is grit. A unique combination of passion and perseverance. Effort (which is sustained by grit) is twice as important. You will need the effort to turn your natural talent into a skill. You must also put in the effort into these skills to meet achievements. 

Developing Grit

Grit is made up of four “psychological assets,” according to the study. Each of these components can be developed on its own or with the help of others.

  1. Interest. Obsessive interest, fascination, and curiosity lead to a never-ending series of questions. Having a strong desire to learn more. Finding intriguing questions and researching answers will help you stay focused and do greatness.
  1. Practice and improvement. The author emphasizes that you must acquire the mindset and that you must build a habit of wanting to improve no matter what it takes. That can be accomplished by deliberate practice. A methodical and systematic approach to practicing. One that necessitates your undivided attention and a desire to improve your performance. 
  1. Purpose. What is the biggest contributor to grit? Is it a pleasure or a purposeful feeling? So the author conducted a study with over 16000 Americans. She discovered that those who have a stronger sense of purpose are more likely to improve and scale their grit. A higher amount of grit is associated with a higher level of purpose. The grittier individual discovers his or her mission or the broader purpose of his or her work.  This has the ability to improve his or her grit level. 
  1. Growth Mindset and Hope. Our learning ability isn’t fixed, and we may improve it with concentrated effort. This is according to Carol Dweck, author of Growth Mindset. People are more likely to show perseverance even after multiple failures. This is especially when they challenge and train their brains via attempts and practice. Hope is entwined with the other components, and how you respond to failures is determined by this. Will you get up and keep going, or will you stay down and be defeated?

You’ll need to invest a lot of time and stay motivated for the long haul if you put in a lot of effort. The author offered two suggestions for staying motivated:

  1. A large vision, a big dream, something bigger that means a lot to you and can motivate you for a long time.
  1. Set small, attainable daily goals to assist you to achieve success, progress, and motivation.

About the Author

Image Source: Penn Today

Angela Duckworth is the founder and CEO of Character Lab. It’s a non-profit organization that will help children thrive through advancing scientific insights. She is also a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2013, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Before her career in research, she was a math and science teacher. She teaches at public schools in New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Angela shares research-backed advice for parents and teachers in her Tip of the Week.

Duckworth is best known for her research on Grit.  It was a strength she defines as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. She developed the Grit Scale, a measure of this construct.

Duckworth has found grit to be a common factor among the high-achievers she has studied. Her work suggests that grit is unrelated to IQ. But it is related to conscientiousness. Grit has been studied across the lifespan. But Duckworth focuses on how building grit can help adolescents. This falls under the umbrella of character education. And the movement to expand school instruction beyond cognitive factors.

Grit has had its share of critics. There is a 2017 meta-analysis found. It says that “grit is only moderately correlated with performance and retention.” It had not been distinguished from several constructs studied before. These include conscientiousness, persistence, and industriousness.

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Books by the Author

  • Grit : The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  • How to Change : The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
  • Grit : The Power of Passion and Perseverance Young Readers Edition
  • Key to Success: How to Be Successful and the Habits of Successful People

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