Got Grit

We have been looking at failure and how it relates to life, learning, and “success”. Learning how to handle failure is a life skill we should be “teaching” and allowing in our schools but it is what students do with the failure, after the failure, that determines whether it is a positive or a negative in their life. There is a very important characteristic that completes the process of failure turning to success. Without it the recipe is not complete. It’s the concept of grit and having it is a key to success in so many aspects of life. Most of us know what grit is or at least know when we see it but most of us would possibly struggle trying to define it, explain it, or teach it. So what is grit? One of the preeminent leaders on the study of this interestingly named characteristic is Angela Lee Duckworth. She currently heads up the Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania which studies grit and self-control. Her research into this topic recently won her a MacArthur Fellowship which has been dubbed by the media as the “genius” award.

Angela has studied grit in many different places and scenarios, from West Point Academy to the National Spelling Bee, to Fortune 500 companies, and so on. She personally defines grit as the following, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Below I have included a link to a six-minute TED talk by Angela on the topic of grit. Please, please, please (is that enough begging?) take the time to click on the link and watch the video. I promise you it will be worth every minute. What she talks about is very important for us as educators and parents to understand and is a great introduction to this critical topic I will be blogging about in the comings days and weeks.

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Karl Steinkamp
Blog #26
Day 26 of 30

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