Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Teen Ink

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance MAG

April 10, 2019
By jyotsna-r-n SILVER, Trivandrum, Other
jyotsna-r-n SILVER, Trivandrum, Other
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never ignore a possible."
- Charles Maxim
from the book Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

“I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.”


These are the words of University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, Dr. Angela Duckworth, and they form the central theme of her bestselling book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.


The first question one might have after reading the title is – what exactly is grit? Believe me, prior to watching Angela Duckworth’s TED talk on the same subject, I though grit was what you called tiny bits of dirt. Nope. Grit is the enviable quality of picking yourself up after falling down hard, brushing off the dust, and trying again with a renewed approach. Grit is getting a ‘D’ on your last paper, not making it on the swim team, receiving a rejected application – but defiantly trying again and not giving up. And according to Dr. Duckworth, grit – not talent – is what determines success. 


The book discusses many misconceptions surrounding talent. Talent is what people think determines success. Talent is what many of the successful apparently possess. Not so, according to Grit. Although talent initially does get one noticed, unless coupled with sheer hard work, it is of little consequence. But grit? Duckworth provides evidence that our grit is what determines where we get in life. Grit influences who gets accepted into West Point, who drops out of college, and who gets accepted into college. Duckworth has designed a “Grit Scale’”– a test consisting of 10 statements that effectively measure your never-gonna-give-up attitude. It’s available in the book, and I urgently advise you to try it out.


The book also focuses on qualities related to grit – passion, purpose and perseverance. Perseverance and grit of course go hand in hand, and grittier individuals seem to have more purpose. These revelations may seem laughable, but I can assure you that there’s evidence to back it up. Moreover, Duckworth provides valuable guidelines for growing grit – from “the outside in” and “the inside out.” Lessons on wise parenting, developing interests, and the impact extracurricular activities have on increasing grit in children – it’s all there.


One thing I loved about this book was the fact that Duckworth includes several stories of people she calls “grit paragons,” as well as personal anecdotes to illustrate her arguments. They make the book more readable, especially for someone who’s more used to action-driven fiction. On a more personal level, I was blown away by the scientific evidence – hard work beats talent. You may not know the answer to a math question right away. You may get it wrong a couple of times. You may not be the fastest runner on the track team of your school. But you can always become better. You can solve more math problems and get there. You can run more rounds. However hard it may seem, improvement is always within your reach if you’ve got enough grit. And if you don’t think you have enough, you can improve as well. It was very comforting for me to realize that success is within everyone’s reach. All you have to do is stretch those fingers out a little more every day.


Read it. Please. And don’t just read; understand what Dr. Duckworth says – that no matter how little talent you may think you have, you definitely can work hard with passion, perseverance, and grit.

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