Is Grit Overrated? - Deepstash
Is Grit Overrated?

Is Grit Overrated?

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Measuring persistence

Measuring persistence

In a study,  Angela Duckworth, psychology professor and author of Grit,  found that SAT or ACT scores can not reliably determine grit. What did work was a "Grit Scale" that included statements such as "I finish whatever I begin" and “setbacks don’t discourage me."


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Grit can be developed

Duckworth argues that grit - perseverance and exclusive pursuit of a single passion - is severely underrated. Grit can be developed and is as important as IQ in predicting educational success.

What differentiates high performers is mostly how they process feelings of frustration, disappointment or boredom. While others take these signals to cut their losses and move on, high performers have been conditioned to believe that struggle is not something to worry about. Instead, it is more important to delay the quitting point.


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The natural bias

The natural bias

On the surface, people think effort is more important than talent. Employers say they value industriousness more than intelligence in an employee. But deep down, they hold opposite views. Studies show people prefer a "natural" over a "striver". This bias has practical implications. 

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all,” Michelangelo observed. It suggests that grit is essential, but it is not attractive.


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Hidden practice is costly

Hidden practice is costly

When successful people keep their practice hidden, it can be costly to society because it obscures the amount of failure that goes into success. We only see the final products. 

When we experience messy frustration, we are too eager to believe we don’t have what it takes and give up.


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Grit is needed to get somewhere

Directional consistency, the ability to stick unswervingly to a single, superordinate goal over a period of years is perhaps not the best approach in an economy where career paths can twist or even disappear over a short period.

However, we need some direction to get anywhere. Even if are forced to switch paths, that also requires grit. 


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