A 4-Letter Word That Will Help Your Student Graduate From College

This word is one that will help each of us, student or adult, be successful in whatever it is we set out to do.

It is attainable by each of us and, according to extensive research, has nothing to do with IQ, talent or socioeconomic level.

It is this year’s new buzz word but one that is worth paying attention to. The word? … (drumroll please) … GRIT.

Grit was coined by psychologist and researcher, Dr. Angela Duckworth, something she equates with having passion and perseverance for very long term goals.

Dr. Duckworth has written a book on the subject that I recommend (see below), but I know that many of you may not get to read all of it. So at least please watch her six-minute TED talk to get a handle on how this concept can change your thinking about success in a big way.

Dr. Duckworth also shares her theory regarding how one develops grit. She believes it begins with Dr. Carol Dweck’s work on what she calls a “growth mindset.”

In short, Dr. Dweck suggests that rather than praising intelligence or talent (both of which come from a “fixed mindset” way of thinking), parents and educators should instead praise the process one uses to achieve goals. This includes things like effort, focus and perseverance, all of which lead to improvement.

Her work stresses the importance for both children and adults in learning that when we struggle to learn a new concept or push outside our comfort zone, neurons in our brain are forming new and stronger connections. In essence, we can get smarter over time with effort, regardless of where we started.

That is something worth embracing as we start a new school year!

TED talk on Grit by Dr. Angela Duckworth: (6 min) “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” by Angela Duckworth (2016 book)

TED talk on Growth Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck (10 min) “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” by Carol Dweck (2006 book)

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