What Grit Is And Why You Need It.

Grit Over Gift

Have you ever heard of the term grit? If you have played on any kind of competitive sports team, I assure you that grit has come up once or twice. However for those of you that do not know, “grit is a psychological trait that allows some people to work harder more frequently and to give up on tasks less frequently. In addition, gritty people tend to be single minded about their goals, are often obsessed with certain activities, and are more likely to persist in the face of struggle or failure.” – Andy Jones-Wilkins

So, what now? Well, grit is thought to have been learned, instilled and practiced over its counterpart ‘talent;’ something that so many believe is the reason they are not fulfilling more dreams and reaching more goals. The more grit you have, the less frequently you will quit when faced by adversity.

Angela Duckworth researches Grit

This is Angela Duckworth. She is the inspiration behind the notion that grit is possibly just as essential to success as intelligence. Her work all began when she was a middle school math teacher and constantly wondered why the kids who were the hardest workers consistently scored better than those who did not try hard. This led her to become a professor of psychology, and her work is now very involved at the University of Pennsylvania.

Angela stated once that a “gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”

From her studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth has developed a 12-point survey in determining your grit score. You can follow the link below in order to determine your own, and remember, BE HONEST.


This is a very interesting concept that Angela has brought about in saying that intelligence scores, which we can measure in minutes, may not be the only factor in determining potential. It is no doubt that we can assume all successful people are gritty, but the question still remains; do you have to have a certain amount of grit in order to be successful?

My personal opinion on this issue is that the people who do not quit when faced with unrelenting conditions are the type of people who are destined to find their own definition of success. This is a topic I will continue to follow as I am sure there is a lot to be developed.

Check out Angela’s TED Talk on “True Grit: Can Perseverance be Taught?”

2 thoughts on “What Grit Is And Why You Need It.

  1. Interesting concept Zach! I agree in the sense that one needs a certain amount of grit in order to be successful. I see grit similar to drive or motivation that lead to goals. One could be a genius but without any drive or motivation, not get very far. Based on the questions in the grit quiz, it seems as if the determinants of being “gritty” or not are those which depend on one’s commitment to ideas, work habits, and attention span. All of which I think are learned as we grow up through activities such as organized sports like you mentioned. Perhaps there is a link between what we do during our childhood and our level of grittiness today?

    • Thanks for your comment Kaela! Childhood is definitely a time where we as humans develop the most and shape into who we are today. However, the elusive question of whether or not one is born with grit has yet to be answered. Stay tuned in 2013 as there will be much talk and research surrounding this topic!

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