This word is one that will help each of us, student or adult, be successful in whatever it is we set out to do. This is especially relevant now, during all the challenges of COVID, to help us use this time to gain some benefit that will stay with us after the pandemic has moved on.
It is attainable by each of us and, according to extensive research, has nothing to do with IQ, talent, or socioeconomic level.
It was a popular buzzword a few years back and is still talked about regularly by college admissions teams. You may have guessed it … 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, 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 understanding 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 students struggle to succeed with virtual learning. It may also serve as encouragement to learn something new during the upcoming winter months.
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)