New Year’s Resolutions
These don’t work. There’s no way to reach lofty goals except to work hard. In fact, exceptional goals all require one factor: Grit.
Angela Duckworth coined the term when she distinguished the difference between her 7th grade public school math students who excelled those who didn’t. She also noticed this difference between her colleagues and herself – some of her co-workers had become experts over 20 years studying the same subject. Although she was always achievement-minded, Duckworth felt her work was much less focused on any one area. She defines this special characteristic “grit” – “a passionate commitment to a single mission and an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission.” (Paul Tough, How Children Succeed)
Duckworth created a 12 question grit survey. Answers to questions such as: “New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones” were answered by a 1 to 5 point scale responses (1 = not like me at all to 5 = very much like me). Although the surveys were self-administered, they found the results to be quite accurate and indicative of future success. In fact, they administered it to 1200 military cadets at West Point. Out of several other tests used to predict graduation rates, Duckworth’s 12 question survey was the most predictive.
Why does this matter? Perhaps because so much has always weighed on IQ or “intelligence.” If one can harness the power of grit, one can achieve anything.