We have other studies under review
where grit predicts completing special
forces training in the Army, graduating
from the Chicago public schools, and
actually, for men, staying married.
That’s not true for women, interestingly.
We’re starting to see this kind of
“showing up” pattern in the data. You
know, Woody Allen once said that 80
percent of success in life is just showing
up. And I think grit inclines individuals
to show up for their commitments, and
to keep showing up.
Can grit be taught, or is it mostly
innate? Can educators encourage
grit in their students?
All traits that psychologists are interested
in are both heritable and subject to
environmental influence. Since I can’t
change people’s genetic heritages, I have
less interest as a researcher in the genetic
part, but I’m always quick to remind
non-scientists that the genetic piece is
there, and it’s real.
Still, if you take as an assumption that
self-control and grit on balance are good,
then as a parent we would like to have
more of it in our kids and as a teacher
we’d like to see more of it in our students.
So what do you do? I think the key [to
figuring this out] is asking, who are these
gritty people and why are they gritty?
What gritty people do is they stick
with it over a long period of time and
they continue to spend effort toward
their goals. And there are three reasons
why I think they do that. One is self-efficacy, or your judgment that the
outcome will be positive if you put in
To watch Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED
Talk about grit, go to www.youtube.com/