Angela Lee Duckworth left her job in management consulting to teach seventh graders math in the New York City public schools. Like any teacher she made quizzes and tests, gave out homework and calculated grades.
She noticed that some of her smartest kids weren’t doing so well, which got her thinking that everyone could learn the material if they worked hard and long enough.
“But what if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?”
In her TED talk she documents exactly how she found the recipe for success, “My research team and I went to West Point Military Academy. We tried to predict which cadets would stay in military training and which would drop out. We went to the National Spelling Bee and tried to predict which children would advance farthest in competition . . . In all those very different contexts,one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”
“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, 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.”
So how do you get grit? How do you make yourself persevere? Angela says that the best thing about building grit is something called growth mindset. A belief that the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort. It also means you’re much more likely to continue when you fail. Interesting right?
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