True Grit – What Our Kids Need

By Shlomo Maital


   Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s an expert in non-I.Q. competencies, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.   Her latest book is: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In her book she studied high performers.  

   Here is her core message:

     “what distinguished high performers was largely how they processed feelings of frustration, disappointment, or even boredom. Whereas others took these as signals to cut their losses and turn to some easier task, high performers did not – as if they had been conditioned to believe that struggle was not a signal for alarm.”

   Duckworth used her Grit Scale to try to predict which West Point cadets would drop out.   She found:  for 1,218 new cadets at West Point, those 71 cadets who quit scored well on every other test, but very low on her Grit Scale, which used statements like:      “ I finish what I begin”   “Setbacks don’t discourage me”.    

     According to Duckworth, you CAN change people’s beliefs about how success happens… and this may change their behavior.   Success happens when ordinary people simply persist!   Through trials and failures and crises.   Grit is learned behavior.

   I think we should teach this to our kids. It’s as important as math and science and English.