Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth
0:12 When I was 27 years old,
0:14 I left a very demanding job in management consulting
0:18 for a job that was even more demanding: teaching.
0:23 I went to teach seventh graders math
0:25 in the New York City public schools.
0:28 And like any teacher, I made quizzes and tests.
0:31 I gave out homework assignments.
0:33 When the work came back, I calculated grades.
0:36 What struck me was that IQ was not the only difference
0:41 between my best and my worst students.
0:45 Some of my strongest performers did not have stratospheric IQ scores.
0:50 Some of my smartest kids weren’t doing so well.
0:54 And that got me thinking.
0:56 The kinds of things you need to learn in seventh grade math,
0:59 sure, they’re hard: ratios, decimals, the area of a parallelogram.
1:04 But these concepts are not impossible,
1:07 and I was firmly convinced that every one of my students
1:11 could learn the material
1:14 if they worked hard and long enough.
1:16 After several more years of teaching,
1:19 I came to the conclusion that what we need in education
1:23 is a much better understanding of students and learning
1:26 from a motivational perspective,
1:28 from a psychological perspective.
1:31 In education, the one thing we know how to measure best is IQ.
1:38 But what if doing well in school and in life
1:42 depends on much more
1:44 than your ability to learn quickly and easily?
1:48 So I left the classroom,
1:50 and I went to graduate school to become a psychologist.
1:53 I started studying kids and adults
1:56 in all kinds of super challenging settings,
1:58 and in every study my question was,
2:01 who is successful here and why?
2:04 My research team and I went to West Point Military Academy.
2:08 We tried to predict which cadets
2:10 would stay in military training and which would drop out.
2:14 We went to the National Spelling Bee
2:16 and tried to predict which children would advance farthest in competition.
2:21 We studied rookie teachers working in really tough neighborhoods,
2:25 asking which teachers are still going to be here in teaching
2:29 by the end of the school year,
2:31 and of those, who will be the most effective
2:34 at improving learning outcomes for their students?
2:37 We partnered with private companies, asking,
2:39 which of these salespeople is going to keep their jobs?
2:42 And who’s going to earn the most money?
2:44 In all those very different contexts,
2:47 one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success.
2:52 And it wasn’t social intelligence.
2:54 It wasn’t good looks, physical health,
2:57 and it wasn’t IQ.
2:59 It was grit.
3:01 Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.
3:06 Grit is having stamina.
3:09 Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out,
3:13 not just for the week, not just for the month,
3:16 but for years,
3:18 and working really hard to make that future a reality.
3:22 Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
3:28 A few years ago,
3:29 I started studying grit in the Chicago public schools.
3:33 I asked thousands of high school juniors
3:35 to take grit questionnaires,
3:37 and then waited around more than a year
3:39 to see who would graduate.
3:41 Turns out that grittier kids
3:43 were significantly more likely to graduate,
3:46 even when I matched them on every characteristic I could measure,
3:50 things like family income,
3:53 standardized achievement test scores,
3:55 even how safe kids felt when they were at school.
3:59 So it’s not just at West Point or the National Spelling Bee
4:02 that grit matters.
4:03 It’s also in school,
4:05 especially for kids at risk for dropping out.
4:09 To me, the most shocking thing about grit
4:12 is how little we know,
4:14 how little science knows, about building it.
4:17 Every day, parents and teachers ask me,
4:19 “How do I build grit in kids?
4:21 What do I do to teach kids a solid work ethic?
4:24 How do I keep them motivated for the long run?”
4:27 The honest answer is,
4:29 I don’t know.
4:32 What I do know is that talent doesn’t make you gritty.
4:35 Our data show very clearly
4:37 that there are many talented individuals
4:40 who simply do not follow through on their commitments.
4:43 In fact, in our data, grit is usually unrelated
4:48 or even inversely related to measures of talent.
4:52 So far, the best idea I’ve heard about building grit in kids
4:56 is something called “growth mindset.”
4:59 This is an idea developed at Stanford University by Carol Dweck,
5:03 and it is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed,
5:08 that it can change with your effort.
5:11 Dr. Dweck has shown
5:12 that when kids read and learn about the brain
5:15 and how it changes and grows in response to challenge,
5:19 they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail,
5:23 because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.
5:29 So growth mindset is a great idea for building grit.
5:32 But we need more.
5:34 And that’s where I’m going to end my remarks,
5:36 because that’s where we are.
5:38 That’s the work that stands before us.
5:40 We need to take our best ideas, our strongest intuitions,
5:44 and we need to test them.
5:46 We need to measure whether we’ve been successful,
5:49 and we have to be willing to fail, to be wrong,
5:52 to start over again with lessons learned.
5:56 In other words, we need to be gritty
5:59 about getting our kids grittier.
6:02 Thank you.