Angela Duckworth Quotes on Grit

Angela Duckworth studies grit for a living.  A couple of years back, she gave an excellent TED Talk on grit and persistence.  If you haven’t seen it, watch the video here.

In this article, I’m compiling some of Angela Duckworth’s quotes on grit (from the video).  So if you don’t want to watch the video, but want to know what she said about grit, take a look below.

Angela Duckworth talking about observing people who perform the best in high-pressure environments such as Westpoint Military Academy, National Spelling Bee, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and salespeople at private companies.

In all those very different contexts, one characteristic emerged as the best predictor of success.  And it wasn’t social intelligence, it wasn’t good looks, physical health, 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.

Grit and schools in tough neighborhoods

Grittier kids were significantly more likely to graduate, even when I matched them on every characteristic I could measure.  Things like family income, standardized achievement test scores, and even how safe they felt while they were at school.  So it’s not just at Westpoint or the National Spelling Bee that it matters, it’s also in school.

Talent and grit

Talent doesn’t make you gritty.  Our data shows very clearly that there are many talented individuals who simply do not follow through on their commitments.  In fact in our data, grit is usually unrelated or even inversely related to measures of talent.

Building Grit and Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset

So far the best idea I’ve heard for building grit in kids is something called growth mindset….and it is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed.  That it can change with your effort.  Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they are much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.


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