Grit: The Trait That Predicts Success

What indicator best predicts success? Is it someone’s GPA, their IQ, or Grit? Psychologist and New York Times bestselling author, Angela Duckworth, has shown that a person’s resolve or grit is correlated to success.

Throughout her career Duckworth observed many people and wondered what led them to aspire to be high achievers. Her findings concluded that grit is a key characteristic to success. Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Duckworth found that a person’s fortitude led to favorable outcomes in areas such as education, competitions, and military training.


Research at the Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, has shown that a cadet with more grit are more likely to make it past the first taxing summer at West Point.  Additionally, how someone placed on the Grit Scale could predict retention in a national spelling bee competition, in beginning teachers, and graduation from Chicago public high schools (notorious for lower than average graduation rates). Grit proved to be a better predictor in these cases than IQ, standardized test scores, and physical fitness.


set and reach goal concept


Though Duckworth and her colleagues discovered that intellectual acuity was a factor in classroom participation, report cards were affected by intrapersonal factors of self-control and grit.  In an interview with Scholastic Duckworth stated:

“These traits predict academic outcomes, so it’s a necessity at some level to teach them. I know that instructional time is a zero-sum game, but if we want kids to do well academically, it’s hard to imagine that happening if they don’t have some control over their attention.”

How successful someone becomes is directly related to their grit and self-control. So the next time you’re faced with an arduous task remember that a unique mixture of passion and persistence called grit, is essential to achieve goals.



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