Grit as a Possible Factor of Success

What is grit?

Grit

Angela Duckworth and Christopher Peterson have coined the term grit to signify "the perseverance and passion for long-term goals".  Their study was based in the curiosity about the "something else" that was factoring into the success of prominent individuals; some of them had high IQ and some had immense talent, but there was more to it than that.  If you are interested, you can listen to Duckworth speak on grit here

A 2016 NPR article covered the critique of this concept, as headed by Marcus Credé.  He argues that Duckworth's study is misleading and does not reveal any new information, only "old wine in new bottles."  In other words, grit is conscientiousness, one of the Big Five Factors of Personality that have been around since the 1930's.  Since personality characteristics are fairly stable and dependent on various factors, he says that conscientiousness is a character trait that cannot be easily molded by direct interventions, though it can change with age.  

Why does this matter?

In science - and life - we will always have those with an alternative response, another perspective, or an opinion. What Credé did was provide Duckworth the perfect platform to display her own "grittiness."  She responded to Credé's critique by discussing where her word choice might have been misleading.  She also said that they are continuing to research the concept of grit, and how it is applied, to better understand it, and further points out that some instructional interventions (such as building a target growth mindset) have had success.  As was originally discussed in 2007, Duckworth acknowledged that grit and conscientiousness were related, but that there are ways that they are not identical.  This can be seen specifically in relation to long-term goals over years of pursuit.

What can be observed in Duckworth's response are some of the basic components of Social Emotional Learning: self-awareness of one's limitations, social awareness of appreciating differences, and responsible decision making to continue to apply new methods to learn about grit and how it can be applied to benefit children and adults.  

School to Career Progressions believes that by providing opportunities to engage in Social Emotional Learning and character coaching at a young age, these students will gain the necessary skills to succeed in school, the workforce, and the community.




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