Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

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IQ is not the only difference between successful students and those who struggle.

In education, understanding of students and learning from a motivational and a psychological perspective is much better, according to Angela Lee Duckworth.

Angela Lee Duckworth (born 1970) is an American academic, psychologist and Popular science author. She is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies grit and self-control.  She is also the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a not-for-profit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.

In her Ted Talk, she poses the question: "What if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?"

Angela left her teaching career to become a psychologist and started studying kids and adults in all kinds of settings.

A research team and Angela conducted several studies. They went to West Point Military Academy to try to predict who stay in military training and which would drop out.

In trying to predict which children would advance farthest in a competition, they visited the National Spelling Bee.

They studied rookie teachers working in tough neighbourhoods, wondering which teachers would finish teaching by the end of the school year and which of those teachers would be the most effective at improving learning outcomes for their students.

Angela and her team also partnered with private companies and tried to predict which of their salespeople was going to keep their job or who was going to earn the most money.

In all those different situations, one characteristic emerged. It wasn't intelligence, good looks, physical health or 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 only for the month but for years and make your goal a reality.

  • Grit is living life like it is a marathon.

To build grit, people have to develop what Professor Carol Dweck at Standford University calls Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset is the belief that people can increase intelligence by learning a structured program to 'grow their brains.'

When people learn about the brain, how it changes and grows in response to a challenge, they are more likely to persevere when they fail, because they don't believe that failure is a permanent condition.

Motivation, achievement and expansion of intellectual abilities is part of a Growth Mindset. 

I hope you find this talk as engaging as I did. I do believe that once we change our mindset, our lives will turn for the best. Enjoy it.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with her point of view? What would you change for people to improve their quality of life? I would love to hear your ideas.

With much appreciation