What is Grit and Why is it Important?

Aug 11

Angela Duckworth left a job as a management consultant at McKinsey to teach math in public schools in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York. While teaching math to middle and high school students, she was intrigued by the lack of success she saw in students who appeared to have all of the advantages over their less intelligent peers. This intrigued her so much that she decided to leave teaching and attend the University of Pennsylvania to earn her Ph.D. in Psychology and study what led to this outcome.

Her research revealed that high achievers possess an essential quality independent of intelligence, self-discipline, and ambition that leads them to success. She named this quality “grit.” As an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, she studies self-control and grit and how they impact academic and professional success.

Grit, as defined by Duckworth, is “the perseverance and passion for long-term goals” and “the ability to stick with them until you master them.” Her research clearly shows that grit is a critical factor in overall long-term success and how it corresponds to our ability to triumph over setbacks and conquer important long-term goals. Duckworth developed the Grit Scale Test to measure this quality. The scale is used at the United States Military Academy at West Point and has become the best predictor of which cadets would be successful and which ones would drop out in the rigorous summer training program. Grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability, or fitness. Grit isn’t self-discipline, conscientiousness, perseverance, ambition, passion, or optimism— although these do play a role in grit. Instead, grit is something special that makes all the difference between being smart and being successful or being talented and being great.

Since grit is at the top of the list of qualities needed to accomplish many important goals in our lives, knowing our level of grit can go a long way in making a difference.

Do you know your grit score?

You can take the Grit Scale Test and determine your score by signing up for a free account at www.authentichappiness.com.

Once you have your score, let me know in the comments how you plan to use this in your life.