Angela Duckworth On Grit And The Power Of Perseverance

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With guest host Jane Clayson

Is grit the secret sauce that drives success? More important than both talent and intellect? We’re talking the power and limits of grit.

This show originally aired May 2, 2016.

ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School, in San Francisco. While some districts in numerous states have discouraged migrant minors from Central America from enrolling in their schools, the school accommodated its youths by rewriting young-adult novels at a basic level to spark the newcomers' interest in reading. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In this April 19, 2016 photo, Laurie Millan, a para-professional and tutor, works with a student during an after school tutoring session at San Francisco International High School. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Grit is the new buzzword for success: At work, in school, in the gym. The research shows that grit really does matter after all. More than intelligence. More than talent. Even more than hard work. It’s a combination of unshakable motivation, persistence, and determination. And the belief that improvement is always possible. Maybe, it’s grit that can set you apart. Up next On Point: True grit. -Jane Clayson


Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Founder and Scientific Director of The Character Lab. Author of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance. (@angeladuckw)

Anders Ericsson, professor of psychology at Florida State University. He studies how experts perform and practice. Author of Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise.

From The Reading List

Is Grit Overrated? — "What distinguished high performers, she found, was largely how they processed feelings of frustration, disappointment, or even boredom. Whereas others took these as signals to cut their losses and turn to some easier task, high performers did not—as if they had been conditioned to believe that struggle was not a signal for alarm. To Duckworth, here was an opening. If you could change people’s beliefs about how success happens, then you had a crack at changing their behavior—delaying their quitting point a crucial modicum or two." (The Atlantic)

The Power and Problem of Grit — "Other research has also pointed to a potential downside to grit. Like stubborness, too much grit can keep us sticking to goals, ideas, or relationships that should be abandoned. Psychologist Gale Lucas and her colleagues found in one experiment that gritty individuals will persist in trying to solve unsolvable puzzles at a financial cost. And that's a limitation of grit: it doesn't give you insight into when it will help you prevail and when it will keep you stuck in a dead-end." (NPR)

Angela Duckworth on Passion, Grit and Success — "You cannot will yourself to be interested in something you’re not interested in. But you can actively discover and deepen your interest. So once you’ve fostered an interest, then, and only then, can you do the kind of difficult, effortful and sometimes frustrating practice that truly makes you better. Another thing is really maintaining a sense of hope or resilience, even when there are setbacks." (New York Times)

Read and excerpt of Grit by Angela Duckworth

This program aired on December 28, 2017.


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