Grit

by

Angela Duckworth

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Angela Duckworth Character Analysis

Angela Duckworth is an influential American research psychologist who studies grit (which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance). In Grit, she draws from hundreds of research studies and interviews with high-achievers to explain why grit is the most important personality trait for success in a wide variety of fields, ranging from art and research to business and sports. She also emphasizes that grit can be both taught and learned, and she explains how her interest in grit has stemmed from her own experiences, like her relationship with her genius-obsessed father and her tenure at the management consulting firm McKinsey. Duckworth is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a MacArthur Fellow, and the founder and director of the nonprofit Character Lab.

Angela Duckworth Quotes in Grit

The Grit quotes below are all either spoken by Angela Duckworth or refer to Angela Duckworth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Passion, Perseverance, and Success Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Grit published in 2018.
Preface Quotes

There was about a month between the MacArthur call and its official announcement. Apart from my husband, I wasn’t permitted to tell anyone. That gave me time to ponder the irony of the situation. A girl who is told repeatedly that she’s no genius ends up winning an award for being one. The award goes to her because she has discovered that what we eventually accomplish may depend more on our passion and perseverance than on our innate talent. She has by then amassed degrees from some pretty tough schools, but in the third grade, she didn’t test high enough for the gifted and talented program. Her parents are Chinese immigrants, but she didn’t get lectured on the salvation of hard work. Against stereotype, she can’t play a note of piano or violin.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Duckworth’s Father
Related Symbols: Genius
Page Number: x
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1: Showing Up Quotes

In their own eyes, they were never good enough. They were the opposite of complacent. And yet, in a very real sense, they were satisfied being unsatisfied. Each was chasing something of unparalleled interest and importance, and it was the chase—as much as the capture—that was gratifying. Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn’t dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring.

In sum, no matter the domain, the highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction.

It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special. In a word, they had grit.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2: Distracted By Talent Quotes

It seemed a sure bet that those for whom things came easily would continue to outpace their classmates. In fact, I expected that the achievement gap separating the naturals from the rest of the class would only widen over time.

I’d been distracted by talent.

Gradually, I began to ask myself hard questions. When I taught a lesson and the concept failed to gel, could it be that the struggling student needed to struggle just a bit longer? Could it be that I needed to find a different way to explain what I was trying to get across? Before jumping to the conclusion that talent was destiny, should I be considering the importance of effort? And, as a teacher, wasn’t it my responsibility to figure out how to sustain effort—both the students’ and my own—just a bit longer?

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Chia’s research pulls back the curtain on our ambivalence toward talent and effort. What we say we care about may not correspond with what—deep down—we actually believe to be more valuable. It’s a little like saying we don’t care at all about physical attractiveness in a romantic partner and then, when it comes to actually choosing whom to date, picking the cute guy over the nice one.

The “naturalness bias” is a hidden prejudice against those who’ve achieved what they have because they worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they’re naturally talented. We may not admit to others this bias for naturals; we may not even admit it to ourselves. But the bias is evident in the choices we make.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Chia-Jung Tsay
Page Number: 24-5
Explanation and Analysis:

“What do we mean by talent?” the McKinsey authors ask in the book’s opening pages. Answering their own question: “In the most general sense, talent is the sum of a person’s abilities—his or her intrinsic gifts, skills, knowledge, experience, intelligence, judgment, attitude, character, and drive. It also includes his or her ability to learn and grow.” That’s a long list, and it reveals the struggle most of us have when we try to define talent with any precision. But it doesn’t surprise me that “intrinsic gifts” are mentioned first.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 26-7
Explanation and Analysis:

In my view, the biggest reason a preoccupation with talent can be harmful is simple: By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors—including grit—don’t matter as much as they really do.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3: Effort Counts Twice Quotes

We prefer our excellence fully formed. We prefer mystery to mundanity.
But why? What’s the reason for fooling ourselves into thinking Mark Spitz didn’t earn his mastery?

“Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius,” Nietzsche said. “For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking. . . . To call someone ‘divine’ means: ‘here there is no need to compete.’ ”

In other words, mythologizing natural talent lets us all off the hook. It lets us relax into the status quo.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Friedrich Nietzsche (speaker), Dan Chambliss
Related Symbols: Genius
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

talent × effort = skill

skill × effort = achievement

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

I would add that skill is not the same thing as achievement, either. Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4: How Gritty Are You? Quotes

“Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.”

“It’s doing what you love. I get that.”

“Right, it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love—staying in love.”

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

1. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

2. Setbacks don’t discourage me. I don’t give up easily.

3. I often set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one.

4. I am a hard worker.

5. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects that take more than a few months to complete.

6. I finish whatever I begin.

7. My interests change from year to year.

8. I am diligent. I never give up.

9. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.

10. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

The common metaphor of passion as fireworks doesn’t make sense when you think of what passion means to Jeff Gettleman. Fireworks erupt in a blaze of glory but quickly fizzle, leaving just wisps of smoke and a memory of what was once spectacular. What Jeff’s journey suggests instead is passion as a compass—that thing that takes you some time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and that then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Jeffrey Gettleman
Related Symbols: Compass
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5: Grit Grows Quotes

Taken together, the data I’ve collected on grit and age are consistent with two different stories. One story says that our grit changes as a function of the cultural era in which we grow up. The other story says that we get grittier as we get older. Both could be true, and I have a suspicion that both are, at least to an extent. Either way, this snapshot reveals that grit is not entirely fixed. Like every aspect of your psychological character, grit is more plastic than you might think.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6: Interest Quotes

Nobody is interested in everything, and everyone is interested in something. So matching your job to what captures your attention and imagination is a good idea. It may not guarantee happiness and success, but it sure helps the odds.

That said, I don’t think most young people need encouragement to follow their passion. Most would do exactly that—in a heartbeat—if only they had a passion in the first place. If I’m ever invited to give a commencement speech, I’ll begin with the advice to foster a passion. And then I’ll spend the rest of my time trying to change young minds about how that actually happens.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

Experts and beginners have different motivational needs. At the start of an endeavor, we need encouragement and freedom to figure out what we enjoy. We need small wins. We need applause. Yes, we can handle a tincture of criticism and corrective feedback. Yes, we need to practice. But not too much and not too soon. Rush a beginner and you’ll bludgeon their budding interest. It’s very, very hard to get that back once you do.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

If you’d like to follow your passion but haven’t yet fostered one, you must begin at the beginning: discovery.

Ask yourself a few simple questions: What do I like to think about? Where does my mind wander? What do I really care about? What matters most to me? How do I enjoy spending my time? And, in contrast, what do I find absolutely unbearable? If you find it hard to answer these questions, try recalling your teen years, the stage of life at which vocational interests commonly sprout.

As soon as you have even a general direction in mind, you must trigger your nascent interests. Do this by going out into the world and doing something. To young graduates wringing their hands over what to do, I say, Experiment! Try! You’ll certainly learn more than if you don’t!

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 114-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7: Practice Quotes

Ericsson generally finds that deliberate practice is experienced as supremely effortful. As evidence that working at the far edge of our skills with complete concentration is exhausting, he points out that even world-class performers at the peak of their careers can only handle a maximum of one hour of deliberate practice before needing a break, and in total, can only do about three to five hours of deliberate practice per day.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Anders Ericsson
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow. There’s no contradiction here, for two reasons. First, deliberate practice is a behavior, and flow is an experience. Anders Ericsson is talking about what experts do; Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is talking about how experts feel. Second, you don’t have to be doing deliberate practice and experiencing flow at the same time. And, in fact, I think that for most experts, they rarely go together.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Anders Ericsson
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:

• A clearly defined stretch goal
• Full concentration and effort
• Immediate and informative feedback
• Repetition with reflection and refinement

But how many hours of practice do most people accomplish that checks all four of these boxes? My guess is that many people are cruising through life doing precisely zero hours of daily deliberate practice.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 137-8
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8: Purpose Quotes

Most people first become attracted to things they enjoy and only later appreciate how these personal interests might also benefit others. In other words, the more common sequence is to start out with a relatively self-oriented interest, then learn self-disciplined practice, and, finally, integrate that work with an other-centered purpose.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 143-4
Explanation and Analysis:

Writing this book made me realize that I’m someone who had an inkling about my interests in adolescence, then some clarity about purpose in my twenties, and finally, in my thirties, the experience and expertise to say that my top-level, life-organizing goal is, and will be until my last breath: Use psychological science to help kids thrive.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9: Hope Quotes

What is hope?

One kind of hope is the expectation that tomorrow will be better than today. It’s the kind of hope that has us yearning for sunnier weather, or a smoother path ahead. It comes without the burden of responsibility. The onus is on the universe to make things better.

Grit depends on a different kind of hope. It rests on the expectation that our own efforts can improve our future. I have a feeling tomorrow will be better is different from I resolve to make tomorrow better. The hope that gritty people have has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with getting up again.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

I like to think of a growth mindset this way: Some of us believe, deep down, that people really can change. These growth-oriented people assume that it’s possible, for example, to get smarter if you’re given the right opportunities and support and if you try hard enough and if you believe you can do it. Conversely, some people think you can learn skills, like how to ride a bike or do a sales pitch, but your capacity to learn skills—your talent—can’t be trained. The problem with holding the latter fixed-mindset view—and many people who consider themselves talented do—is that no road is without bumps. […] With a fixed mindset, you’re likely to interpret these setbacks as evidence that, after all, you don’t have “the right stuff”—you’re not good enough. With a growth mindset, you believe you can learn to do better.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Carol Dweck
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

Collectively, the evidence I’ve presented tells the following story: A fixed mindset about ability leads to pessimistic explanations of adversity, and that, in turn, leads to both giving up on challenges and avoiding them in the first place. In contrast, a growth mindset leads to optimistic ways of explaining adversity, and that, in turn, leads to perseverance and seeking out new challenges that will ultimately make you even stronger.

growth mindset  optimistic self-talk  perseverance over adversity

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Carol Dweck, Marty Seligman, Steve Maier
Page Number: 191-2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10: Parenting for Grit Quotes

Growing up with support, respect, and high standards confers a lot of benefits, one of which is especially relevant to grit—in other words, wise parenting encourages children to emulate their parents.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11: The Playing Fields of Grit Quotes

The bottom line of this research is this: School’s hard, but for many kids it’s not intrinsically interesting. Texting your friends is interesting, but it’s not hard. But ballet? Ballet can be both.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

So far, there hasn’t been a corresponsive principle study of grit.

Let me speculate, though. Left to her own devices, a little girl who, after failing to open a box of raisins and saying to herself, “This is too hard! I quit!” might enter a vicious cycle that reinforces giving up. She might learn to give up one thing after another, each time missing the opportunity to enter the virtuous cycle of struggle, followed by progress, followed by confidence to try something even harder.

But what about a little girl whose mother takes her to ballet, even though it’s hard? […] What if that little girl was nudged to try and try again and, at one practice, experienced the satisfaction of a breakthrough? Might that victory encourage the little girl to practice other difficult things? Might she learn to welcome challenge?

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 234
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12: A Culture of Grit Quotes

The bottom line on culture and grit is: If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it. If you’re a leader, and you want the people in your organization to be grittier, create a gritty culture.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

Indeed, the calculated costs and benefits of passion and perseverance don’t always add up, at least in the short run. It’s often more “sensible” to give up and move on. It can be years or more before grit’s dividends pay off.

And that’s exactly why culture and identity are so critical to understanding how gritty people live their lives. The logic of anticipated costs and benefits doesn’t explain their choices very well. The logic of identity does.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker)
Page Number: 250
Explanation and Analysis:

If each person’s grit enhances grit in others, then, over time, you might expect what social scientist Jim Flynn calls a “social multiplier” effect. In a sense, it’s the motivational analogue of the infinity cube of self-reflecting mirrors Jeff Bezos built as a boy—one person’s grit enhances the grit of the others, which in turn inspires more grit in that person, and so on, without end.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Jeff Bezos
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13: Conclusion Quotes

“You’re no genius,” my dad used to say when I was just a little girl. I realize now he was talking to himself as much as he was talking to me.

If you define genius as being able to accomplish great things in life without effort, then he was right: I’m no genius, and neither is he.

But if, instead, you define genius as working toward excellence, ceaselessly, with every element of your being—then, in fact, my dad is a genius, and so am I, and so is Coates, and, if you’re willing, so are you.

Related Characters: Angela Duckworth (speaker), Duckworth’s Father (speaker), Ta-Nehisi Coates
Related Symbols: Genius
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Grit LitChart as a printable PDF.
Grit PDF

Angela Duckworth Character Timeline in Grit

The timeline below shows where the character Angela Duckworth appears in Grit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
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Angela Duckworth remembers how, when she was young, her father constantly talked about “genius.” He worried that... (full context)
Chapter 1: Showing Up
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In the 1950s, one of Duckworth’s mentors, the psychologist Jerry Kagan, tried to predict who would drop out of West Point.... (full context)
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In graduate school, Duckworth also interviewed leaders in fields ranging from business and sports to academia and art. She... (full context)
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In 2004, Duckworth developed the Grit Scale, a questionnaire to measure grit, and gave it to West Point’s... (full context)
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After watching Spellbound, a documentary about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Duckworth began to wonder whether the spellers’ success was about talent, grit, or both. So, she... (full context)
Chapter 2: Distracted By Talent
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At age 27, Duckworth quit her management consulting job to become a seventh-grade math teacher at a school facing... (full context)
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After a year in New York, Duckworth moved to San Francisco and started teaching at the academically selective Lowell High School. Most... (full context)
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Duckworth decided to become a psychologist to study her hunch that effort matters more than intelligence.... (full context)
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...potential because they don’t use all of their talents and resources. If this is true, Duckworth asks, why do people care so much about talent in the first place? National surveys... (full context)
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McKinsey, the consulting firm where Duckworth once worked, published a famous report called The War for Talent. It argued that companies’... (full context)
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...so. Some, like Enron, have completely collapsed. When employees fight to show off their talent, Duckworth argues, the most smug, dishonest, and selfish ones tend to get promoted, and companies start... (full context)
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Talent is certainly a good thing, Duckworth writes, but focusing on it too much is risky because it leads people to neglect... (full context)
Chapter 3: Effort Counts Twice
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American media and popular culture almost always explain achievement through talent. Even Duckworth still thinks “What a genius!” when people impress her. She asks why people are unconsciously... (full context)
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Duckworth remembers when her graduate school advisor, the influential but intimidating Marty Seligman, told her that... (full context)
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Now, a decade later, Duckworth finally does have a theory. It consists of two principles. The first is “talent ×... (full context)
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Duckworth illustrates her theory with several examples. The master potter Warren MacKenzie was in his 90s... (full context)
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...fighting dyslexia taught him the stamina that is key to his rewriting today. In fact, Duckworth comments, “precociously talented” people often don’t learn this kind of stamina. Like MacKenzie, Irving built... (full context)
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...the men’s running time on the treadmill predicted their success in adulthood. (Ironically, Vaillant told Duckworth that he doesn’t think of himself as high-grit at all—except when it comes to pursuing... (full context)
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Woody Allen famously said that “eighty percent of success in life is showing up.” Duckworth comments that if she had run the Harvard study, she would have measured the participants’... (full context)
Chapter 4: How Gritty Are You?
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A young entrepreneur once approached Duckworth before one of her lectures to tell her how long and hard he worked on... (full context)
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Duckworth includes her Grit Scale, which asks people to rate whether 10 different statements, like “I... (full context)
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Duckworth points out that on the Grit Scale, the questions about passion ask about the consistency... (full context)
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...a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who works in East Africa for The New York Times. But Duckworth first met him when they were both getting master’s degrees at Oxford in their early... (full context)
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Duckworth concludes that passion means pursuing the “same ultimate goal in an abiding, loyal, steady way.”... (full context)
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Still, Duckworth thinks that people are more likely to succeed if they can narrow down their top-level... (full context)
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Based on Mankoff’s story, Duckworth argues that people should be willing to give up their lower-level goals when necessary—like when... (full context)
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...she measured. The few that did matter were variations on passion and perseverance. In conclusion, Duckworth explains that the Grit Scale is just a tool for reflecting on how gritty people... (full context)
Chapter 5: Grit Grows
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People frequently ask Duckworth the extent to which grit is genetic. But both genes and experience—or nature and nurture—influence... (full context)
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Duckworth has found that, unlike IQ scores, grit scores are higher among older adults. Perhaps culture... (full context)
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Next, Duckworth asks how people’s grit grows. Many people feel that they lack grit because they are... (full context)
Chapter 6: Interest
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...and Jeff Bezos often say things like, “follow your passion,” as do the high-grit people Duckworth has interviewed. The British journalist Hester Lacey, who interviews “mega successful” people for the Financial... (full context)
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Which is better, Duckworth asks: choosing a practical job or following one’s interests? After aggregating hundreds of studies, psychologists... (full context)
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...don’t have a passion to follow yet. They need to foster one. The “grit paragons” Duckworth interviews don’t generally find their passion in a single flash of insight—like in the movie... (full context)
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Duckworth quotes a Reddit post from a 30-something who says they have no idea what direction... (full context)
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...at what they love, they tend to work even less at what they don’t love. Duckworth concludes that “before hard work comes play.” People have to have fun as beginners, trying... (full context)
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As case studies, Duckworth turns to the commencement speakers she mentioned, New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and... (full context)
Chapter 7: Practice
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At the National Spelling Bee, Duckworth found that high-grit contestants practiced more—and this practice explained their success. Similarly, her math students... (full context)
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...over 10 years. However, his research is actually more about how “experts practice differently.” When Duckworth told Ericsson that she has been jogging for years but hasn’t improved, he replied that... (full context)
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Duckworth teamed up with Ericsson to try and understand whether deliberate practice was the key to... (full context)
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...something valuable, he argues, they can still enjoy deliberate practice. To see who was right, Duckworth arranged a public debate the two men. However, while they respectfully summarized their research, they... (full context)
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Duckworth decided to study the relationship between grit and flow on her own. After giving thousands... (full context)
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...during the race but knew that practice was the key to her success. Similarly, when Duckworth prepared to give a TED Talk, she got hours of negative feedback from TED producers... (full context)
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Most of the world-class experts Duckworth has interviewed say that deliberate practice is extremely difficult. But many think it’s a positive... (full context)
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Duckworth identifies three key steps people must take to benefit from deliberate practice and achieve flow.... (full context)
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...Rituals, Mason Currey pointed out that accomplished creative people generally follow consistent routines. In fact, Duckworth only managed to finish Grit by making a morning ritual out of rereading her drafts. (full context)
Chapter 8: Purpose
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In interviews, when Duckworth’s “grit paragons” mention purpose, they always mean that their work benefits other people. For instance,... (full context)
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During her research, Duckworth started to wonder if high-grit people give priority to selfish goals or selfless ones. Even... (full context)
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Duckworth first felt a sense of purpose in college, when she taught at a summer program... (full context)
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Duckworth concludes with three psychologists’ recommendations for “cultivating a sense of purpose” at any age. David... (full context)
Chapter 9: Hope
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...present. Grit requires hope, but specifically hope “that our own efforts can improve our future.” Duckworth remembers struggling in her first college neurobiology course, despite studying hard. She failed her first... (full context)
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...experiment shows that suffering makes people hopeless only when they believe they can’t control it. Duckworth compares herself to the minority of dogs who couldn’t control their shocks but still jumped... (full context)
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...in school and work, live longer, and bounce back from setbacks faster. In their interviews, Duckworth and Hester Lacey have both noticed that successful, high-grit people are usually optimistic: they see... (full context)
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In graduate school, Duckworth attended a meeting with Seligman and Wendy Kopp, the founder and CEO of Teach For... (full context)
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...enough.” In fact, growth mindsets have all the same benefits as optimism. In several studies, Duckworth has repeatedly found that a growth mindset strongly correlates with grit. (full context)
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Duckworth argues that most people “default to a fixed mindset,” even if they want to believe... (full context)
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Bill McNabb, CEO of the investment company Vanguard, told Duckworth that his most successful employees are the ones who continue growing over time. Actually, McNabb... (full context)
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...confident. But other challenges make people weaker—like the “pessimistic” dogs from Seligman and Maier’s experiment. Duckworth asks why: which challenges strengthen people, and which ones weaken them? Recently, Maier repeated his... (full context)
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To better understand Maier’s research, Duckworth visited him. Maier explained that stress automatically activates primitive limbic areas in the brain, and... (full context)
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Meanwhile, many people never experience adversity at all—especially the kind of high achievers whom Duckworth calls “fragile perfects” because they “know how to succeed but not how to fail.” But... (full context)
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Duckworth summarizes the argument of this chapter: a fixed mindset makes people pessimistic about their ability... (full context)
Chapter 10: Parenting for Grit
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People constantly ask Duckworth how they can help others develop grit. Most are parents, but some are also teachers,... (full context)
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Duckworth asks whether strict parents or supportive ones end up helping children develop grit. She offers... (full context)
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...high school to pursue comedy, her parents encouraged her. Martinez’s parents explained their philosophy to Duckworth: they believe that nurturing, supportive parenting naturally helps children find their calling and thrive. But... (full context)
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Young and Martinez’s parents were very different, but they fit into the pattern that Duckworth has seen produce high-grit kids time and time again. While psychologists still need to research... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Playing Fields of Grit
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When Duckworth saw her four-year-old daughter Lucy give up on opening a stubborn box of raisins, she... (full context)
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...to graduate college, succeed academically, reach leadership positions, and make significant achievements in their fields. Duckworth noticed that  the meaning of the term “follow-through” seemed to be pretty similar to the... (full context)
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Bill and Melinda Gates funded Duckworth to study whether involvement in high-school extracurriculars can predict college drop-out rates. She asked 1,200... (full context)
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...to take well-paying, high-status jobs, and these jobs make them more sociable over time. Similarly, Duckworth suspects that young people who learn to quit difficult tasks (like opening a box of... (full context)
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Harvard admissions dean Bill Fitzsimmons told Duckworth that he agrees with Willingham’s research and strongly values follow-through in his applicants. Students who... (full context)
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...for poor children in New York City. After giving Penn’s commencement speech, he met with Duckworth and told her that the key to getting children out of poverty is giving them... (full context)
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Duckworth agrees: the scientific evidence on extracurriculars isn’t sufficient yet, but their benefit is still obvious.... (full context)
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As a new mother, Duckworth struggled to apply Eisenberger’s conclusions—rather than just rewarding her daughters when they worked hard, she... (full context)
Chapter 12: A Culture of Grit
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...his coaching philosophy is to look for players with grit. In fact, he had called Duckworth a few months before, just after she released her TED talk, to ask about how... (full context)
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The sociologist Dan Chambliss, who famously studied champion swimmers, told Duckworth that he still stands by all of his conclusions. But he wishes he could add... (full context)
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Beyond conformity, Duckworth argues, culture is also extraordinary because it shapes people’s identities, and identity is key to... (full context)
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...the much larger Soviet army for many months in the 1939 Winter War. One of Duckworth’s students, who is Finnish, studied sisu for her master’s thesis and found that most Finns... (full context)
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A couple years after their first conversation, Duckworth visited Pete Carroll in Seattle. Carroll had praised grit in his autobiography and media appearances.... (full context)
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During her visit, Duckworth noticed important elements of the Seahawks’ culture. Most notably, the team uses Pete Carroll’s specific... (full context)
Chapter 13: Conclusion
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...a guide to succeeding “in the marathon of life” by using grit. In this conclusion, Duckworth offers some final ideas. First, people can become grittier in two ways: “from the inside... (full context)
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...have some downsides—for example, gritty people might make their families and colleagues unhappy. For instance, Duckworth’s children often complain that she makes everything about grit. At the same time, all in... (full context)
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Next, Duckworth wonders if it’s possible to be too gritty. Psychologists know that with most personality traits... (full context)
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Some audiences think Duckworth believes “grit is the only thing that matters.” But she doesn’t. For instance, she believes... (full context)
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Finally, Duckworth describes how writer Ta-Nehisi Coates just won a MacArthur “Genius Grant.” But once, he was... (full context)
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When Duckworth’s father called Duckworth “no genius,” he wrongly thought that genius meant succeeding effortlessly. But nobody... (full context)