Angela Lee Duckworth, Ph.D. has spent the last ten years researching achievement and believes “grit” is what ultimately determines success.
In a recent Tedx Talk, she discussed her research of incoming freshman at West Point in order to quantify their ‘grit,’ which she defines as “tenaciously perusing something over the long term.” The survey asked students to respond to questions like “I finish whatever I begin,” “I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge” versus statements like “My interests change from year to year.”
She found that the 96% students who scored in the highest quartile for grit were able to successfully graduate from West Point. In fact, people who scored highest for grit performed better than the students who were in the highest quartile of the “whole candidate score” which takes into account intelligence, physical prowess, and other factors that West Point believes are attributes of the most ‘talented’ students.
What does this mean for your goals? That tenacity, perseverance, and hard work are far more important in determining your ultimate success than any innate intellectual or physical prowess you may possess.
Do not be afraid! Given enough time and practice, success is yours!