I just read a study entitled: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals by Angela L. Duckworth University of Pennsylvania, Christopher Peterson University of Michigan, Michael D. Matthews and Dennis R. Kelly United States Military Academy, West Point.
In it, they share, “In a qualitative study of the development of world-class pianists, neurologists, swimmers, chess players, mathematicians, and sculptors, Bloom (1985) noted that “only a few of [the 120 talented individuals in the sample] were regarded as prodigies by teachers, parents, or experts” (p. 533). Rather, accomplished individuals worked day after day, for at least 10 or 15 years, to reach the top of their fields. Bloom observed that in every studied field, the general qualities possessed by high achievers included a strong interest in the particular field, a desire to reach “a high level of attainment” in that field, and a “willingness to put in great amounts of time and effort” (p. 544). Similarly, in her study of prodigies who later made significant contributions to their field, Winner (1996) concluded, “Creators must be able to persist in the face of difficulty and overcome the many obstacles in the way of creative discovery… Drive and energy in childhood are more predictive of success, if not creativity, than is IQ or some other more domain-specific ability” (p. 293).
Grit. I saw it in Michael Jordan on the basketball court. In J.K. Rowling as she wheeled her baby stroller into cafes to sit and write because the heat had been turned off in her apartment. In Oprah as she blazed a trail as a talk show host. In Barack Obama as he made history becoming president of the United States. In Edison as he failed 10,000 times while discovering the electric light bulb. In Terry Fox as he ran across Canada. In Malala as she spoke her truth.
It’s the effort. It’s the perseverance. It’s the passion. It’s the getting up when we fall.
We all have it inside. But we must choose to use it. The one thing all success stories have is grit.
What story will we write with ours?