born 1970

Ever wonder why the smartest kids in class aren't necessarily the most successful? So did Angela Duckworth, a former McKinsey consultant who was teaching 7th-grade math at the time. To find out, the Harvard + Oxford alum went back to school herself.

The answer? A trait Angela calls "grit," a combination of passion and perseverance for a long-term goal. Turns out having grit and self control can be more critical to achievement than intelligence.

Now a psychologist, Angela continues to research grit at her UPenn lab. She's even created a grit test. But if you score low, don't despair. The best part of grit, she says, is that it may well be something you can learn.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Angela Duckworth (11)

"Character is at least as important as intellect."

to Penn's Graduate Program in Positive Psychology | september 2002

"If you are a boat, a really fast shiny boat that is going quickly towards one destination but then tacks to another direction to go to another port and then tacks again—eventually you end up being a really shiny boat that goes fast nowhere."

True grit? Can perseverance be taught? | october 2009

"History and psychology tell us that changing around a lot is not a good way to get anywhere."

True grit. Can perseverance be taught? | october 2009

"I have complete conviction that this is an incredibly important scientific question. If we can figure out the science of behavior and behavior change, if we can figure out what is motivation and how to motivate people, what is frustration and how do we manage it, what is temptation and why do people succumb to it—that to me would be akin to the semiconductor."

Character's Content | may 2012

"The earlier you start, the bigger bang for your buck you get in terms of closing the gap between the privileged and the non-privileged."

Character's Content | may 2012

"People with grit don't believe that failure is a permanent condition."

The key to success? Grit | april 2013

"Grit is sticking with your future—day in, day out, not just for a week, not just for a month, but for years—and working really hard to make that future a reality."

The key to success? Grit | april 2013

"Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint."

The key to success? Grit | april 2013

"We have focused our attention on identifying and understanding the hares among us. It is time to think seriously about the tortoises and what keeps them going."

True Grit | april 2013

"Prodigious talent is no guarantee of grit."

True Grit | april 2013

"I don't think people can become truly gritty and great at things they don't love."

Does Teaching Kids To Get 'Gritty' Help Them Get Ahead? | march 2014
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curated with care by Kathleen Murray {august 2014}