Duckworth and Grit

1.) Duckworth believes that Grit is what leads to successful students and citizens. Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals” (2:53). She also notes that “talent doesn’t make you gritty”, implying that grit is less so a trait and more so a mindset (4:23). All in all, these passages suggest that grit is the ability to face adversity and persevere for the sake of your long term goals and ambitions. It’s drive, motivation, and dedication.

2.) I hate to constantly use this as an example, but the grittiest I’ve ever been is at the gym. Powerlifting has always provided me with a surreal sense of self, a taste of greatness, and a willingness to progress and get better for my own sake. I personally think the sensation I get when training aligns perfectly with what Duckworth defines as grit. Contrarily, I’ve never been super gritty in school. This might not make sense at first–I am a decent/good student–but I genuinely think school is one of the weakest and most lackluster aspects of my life. As Duckworth says, “talent doesn’t make you gritty”(4:23). I’ve always been “good” at school. I finish assignments quickly, write good essays, and never struggle with math and the sciences. I’ve never felt a drive to do this work, though, and as such, I always end up compromising quality for time. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ve written a single paper this year in more than an hour. I get A’s, but deep down I know my work could be a lot better. This screams lack of grit to me as I just don’t have the will or motivation to try harder.

3.) I personally don’t think grit is a universal trait. It’s the ugly truth, but I’m sincere in my explanation. In order to be gritty, I think it’s necessary to first be passionate about whatever it is you’re doing. In my own experience, I’ve found that you can only escape mediocrity in fields when you genuinely love and care for what you’re doing. Unfortunately for most, school, work, and labor aren’t things we tend to feel natural propensities towards. Similarly, I don’t actually believe there’s any way to make someone passionate about something they haven’t already looked into and discovered for themselves. Because of this, looking at grit as something to be developed is silly to me. Bain, in his novel, claimed that the liberal arts introduced kids to grit by exposing them to history and making them excited to learn. I can’t attest to whether or not this is true. If my answer is too pessimistic, though, maybe the liberal arts are the key to developing grit.

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