What if doing well in school and in life depends much more than on your ability to learn quickly and easily?
(Watch the video below)
Angela Lee Duckworth started studying kids and adults in all kinds of super challenging settings, and in every study her question was: “Who was successful here and why?”
Her research team and she went West Point Military academy and tried to predict which cadets would stay in military training and which would drop out. They went to the National Spelling Bee and tried to predict which children would drop out and which wouldn’t. The team went to private companies and asked which salespeople were going to keep their jobs and who is going to earn the most money. 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 or physical health. And it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.
Watch the full TED talk by clicking on the video above, or watch the full TED Talk here: https://youtu.be/GfF2e0vyGM4?si=mKwrUQmSQ_sQs_Oq
WHAT IS GRIT?
- Grit is passion and perseverance for a very long-term goal.
- Grit is having stamina.
- Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, not just for the week, or month, but for years.
- Grit is working really hard to make that future a reality.
In high school settings, a study was done on thousands of high school juniors who took grit questionnaires and then the study team waited around more than a year to see who would graduate. It turns out that grittier kids were significantly more likely to graduate even when the team matched them on every characteristic they could measure; things like family income, standardized achievement test scores, and even how safe kids felt when they were at school. It’s not just at West Point, or the National Spelling Bee, that grit matters. It’s also matters in school, especially for kids at risk for dropping out.
HOW DO WE BUILD GRIT IN KIDS?
The best idea for building grit in kids that Angela Lee Duckworth has come across is something called a growth mindset. It’s an idea developed at Stanford University by Dr. Carol Dweck. It’s the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed and 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(s), they are much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.
This makes growth mindset a great idea for building grit. But, we need more. We need to take our best ideas, and our strongest intuition, and we need to test them. We need to measure whether we’ve been successful. And, we have to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again with lessons learned.