Grit: the “Secret Sauce of Success”…Research by Angela Lee Duckworth

basic-training-300x252What do West Point Cadet’s who make it through “Beast Barracks” have in common with the high performers and winners of the National Spelling Bee contest?


Grit plays a huge role in resilience, in fact in some ways its synomous with resilience.

So…its worth our time to learn some of the science of grit and how to develop it.

In this excellent TedTalk by Angela Lee Duckworth, you will hear fascinating insights into the role grit places in acheivement.

Grit is a far greater predictor of achievement than is talent.

Interestingly , she notes the difference between self-discipline and grit, and how the former is not as predictive of high achievement.

In her research with National Spelling Bee contestents, she found that Grit was a greater predictor of success than IQ. She also found that kids with higher verbal IQ had lower grit.

She also found that the “slacker group” who scored in the lower 25% of self-disicpline did as just about as well as those who scored high in self-discipline.

She also explored why gritty kids did well in the spelling bee. (around 15:30 on the video).

She and her team asked very detailed questions about what the children who scored high in grit  did differently. The gritty kids didn’t just put in more hours, they put in the hardest type of work, says Duckworkh.

They didn’t do easy drills. They focused on what they didn’t know and worked  just on that.

Duckworth concludes: “Grit enables you to be in an uncomfortable place for a good part of your day and get up the next day and do it all over again.”

Thus, a big part of the benefit grit brings it enables you to endure the rigor of the type of high value, focused practice that leads to superstar ability. (She talks about the famous 10,000 hours of practice phenomenon).

What about Mozart? Isn’t proof that genius is more important you ask?

At 16:50 she stomps out that objection…

I highly recommend this video, it’s both fascinating, and a bit sobering.



Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. So true. As someone once said …”persistence alone is omnipotent”…

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.