What does it take to be successful in today’s world? Well according to Angela Duckworth from the University of Pennsylvania, the answer is GRIT. Grit personifies the power of passion and perseverance – it’s all to do with mindset and work ethic, rather than innate talent and intellect.
When you have grit, everything has a purpose, you are focused on long- term goals and appreciate that hard work is the only way to make those goals a reality. It takes stamina and determination to stick with those goals day in day out – it’s about living life like a marathon rather than a series of sprints.
When you have grit, you have passion – a genuine interest. With passion, we work harder – without passion we tread water and become bored.
Look around you and identify one or two people you consider to be successful (I know we could debate for hours what is success but for the purposes of this, use your own interpretation!) – Why are they successful? What makes them standout? When I thought about this, grit appeared to be a key factor.
So if grit isn’t related to talent, and research shows it’s also unrelated to other factors such as intellect, social and economic backgrounds, how can we develop grit?
More research needs to be completed, but what is known so far, is grit is linked to having a growth mindset (Carol Dweck). A growth mindset is the belief that we can improve through effort; being prepared to make mistakes and viewing failure, not as a permanent condition, but an opportunity to learn.
The good news is we can learn to develop a growth mindset and to me this is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and ourselves. Maybe in our desire to give our children the best, we have thwarted the development of grit? We can change that and many schools are already incorporating the growth mindset into their curriculums – this can only be a good thing whether for us as individuals, employers or society as a whole.
To find out more watch Angela’s TED Talk.