Grit may be regarded as one of the most important concepts in almost all spheres of people’s lives. In the article “The Significance of Grit,” Angela Lee Duckworth, an American popular science author, academic, and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, provides an in-depth insight into this phenomenon (Perkins-Gough 14). According to her, grit is “the quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals” (Perkins-Gough 14). This concept has two major elements – grit as resilience and grit as focus. In other words, to be gritty partly means to be resilient and optimistic (Perkins-Gough 14). People with this quality do not stop after failures or adversities and try as many times as they need to succeed. At the same time, grit presupposes focused, long-lasting passion and consistent interest for a particular thing that make other activities less significant (Perkins-Gough 16). Thus, grit may be defined as a combination of resilience in front of failures and deep commitment and loyalty to goals that require time for achievement.
Self-discipline, perseverance, hard work, and grit predict success in education and life in general better than any qualification scores, IQ tests, and talent. Moreover, in the case of talent, it and grit are inversely related (Perkins-Gough 16). In academic settings, talented students who are genuinely good in a particular discipline work less hard as they know that they can achieve some threshold or a standard faster and easier than others and stop. In turn, students who may be less talented but with grit constantly try to maximize their outcomes as they do not accept limits (Perkins-Gough 17). However, not all talented people are carefree and un-gritty, even if a considerable number of gifted individuals are afraid of failures and do not know how to restart if they were not taught to be resilient. Thus, the combination of talent and grit leads to extraordinary success.
According to Duckworth, focused long-term passions can be discovered, recognized, and rediscovered (Perkins-Gough 18). She admits that she had changed multiple jobs, even being successful in what she had been doing before she realized that her passion is in education research and psychology. To understand this, Duckworth remembered what she had been interested in during her life in the past and analyzed her strong sides, abilities, and talent (Perkins-Gough 19). At the same time, in the present day, a lot of students do not know how to be involved into something for a long period of time despite conditions and obstacles as modern culture and economy emphasize flexibility and the significance of the new experience.
In addition, grit is closely connected with a growth mindset as people who believe that they can get better trying harder are more determined, tenacious, and hard-working. On the basis of brain plasticity, people may change their experience, improve skills, and correct a mindset – thus, grit may be positively affected as well (Perkins-Gough 19). Thus, Duckworth states that educators may help students develop grit through appropriate interventions and practices (Perkins-Gough 19). At the same time, the existing education system of standardized tests cannot evaluate multiple important concepts, including empathy, gratitude, intelligence, generosity, tact, honesty, charisma, self-control, and grit. However, a considerable number of schools started to realize the significance of character power and its nurturing for the child’s success in the future.
As a matter of fact, I cannot define myself as a person who is committed to long-term goals in life and not affected by failures at all. Similar to a lot of people, I am interested in a new experience and afraid of challenging situations that may destroy my progress or results. Nevertheless, in particular situations in my life and academic history, I experienced how my grit affected my motivation and general outcomes.
First of all, my grit substantially helps me in preparing for exams. First of all, at this time, I am oriented on good results, and I temporarily cancel other activities in order to focus on learning. It goes without saying that I do not want to fail, however, I know that if I am given another try, I will consider my mistakes and definitely use it. In general, I am aware of the standards I need to achieve in order to pass my exams successfully. Moreover, I am traditionally given a list of sources I need to review or learn for good grades. In turn, I every time try to avoid these limits and use more opportunities – I search for additional materials and learn more facts. In this way, I feel that my grit affects my motivation as I feel extremely motivated knowing that if I learn more, I will have no risk of failure. Even if I forget information from my basic sources, I will not stay hopeless without being able to present anything.
Another example addresses the situation when my grit decreased due to the emphasis on my talent. In high school, a teacher admitted that I am excellent in mathematics as I understand it almost instinctively. I was initially touched by this evaluation of my progress, however, later, I realized that it substantially limited my abilities. In other words, I understood what the teacher expected from me and that I met his expectation effortlessly. Thus, I did not want to develop my skills even if I had the potential for it. I did not improve my grit as I did not feel motivated for more success as I had already had.
In my life outside the classroom, my grit depends on the sphere where I wish to be successful in or do not pay particular attention. However, I remember an episode where I expressed my grit, even being small, without realizing I did it. My father taught me how to ride a bicycle – just like his father had taught him in his turn. I did not have a solid passion for this activity, and probably because of this, I was not careful and fell down from the bicycle. I felt pain in my ankle and did not want to continue, but when I looked at my father’s eye, I saw disappointment. At that moment, I realized that I did not want to make my father sad. I did not learn to ride that day, but I substantially improved my skill. The pain stayed with me for several days, but I knew I had done the right thing when I had refused to stop learning, as it was important for my father. I did not stop after the failure and focused on the activity I did not like for my family – in this way, I have expressed my grit.
Perkins-Gough, Deborah. “The Significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee-Duckworth.” Educational Leadership, 2013, pp. 14-20. Print.