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You can actually take a test to find out how gritty you are!

While talent, intelligence and charisma are all qualities traditionally associated with high achievers and success, some researchers are honing in on other traits like backbone, fortitude, and stick-to-itiveness as being more important to long term success. Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, a professor and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance chalks it up to a quality she calls: grit. “Grit,” she says, “entails working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest, despite failure, adversity, and plateaus. Gritty people, are not easily tempted away from their ultimate goal by distractions, easy answers, or boredom.”

Duckworth and her colleagues argue that high achievers may not have more brains or talent than others but instead have developed a higher stick-to-it ability to” gut things out.” They set far-reaching – goals and then drive relentlessly toward them despite challenges, setbacks, or losses.


Angela Duckworth, TED Talk
“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

As a student at Harvard, Oxford and U Penn, Duckworth arguably hung out with some pretty bright folks. However while studying with positive psychology pioneer, Dr. Martin Seligman, Duckworth wondered what characteristics, beyond IQ and talent, distinguished those students who went on to become high achievers and leaders in their fields from the others. To learn more, Duckworth and her team created a “Grit Scale” asking participants to rate how much they agree/disagree with statements such as “My interests change year to year,” or “I finish whatever I begin.” Across six different studies with a wide range of participants including National Spelling Bee contestants and West Point cadets, Duckworth found that grit significantly impacted successful outcomes.

Challenged by my own recent hurdles on my way to a goal, I tried the Grit Scale. Turns out, I could turn up the grit notch a bit! Take the test here. If your score could be better, spend some time visualizing or revisiting your goals and put specific time periods in place for achieving them. If your plans or creative style has a tendency to veer off track, delegate action items or find someone who will hold you accountable. “I don’t think anyone’s figured out how to make people smarter, but these other qualities of grit may be teachable. Grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment,” concludes Duckworth, and that may be good to know when you’re facing a “curb” moment. To learn more check out Duckworth’s Ted talk here.

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