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  • 1. True Grit: Why Effort is as Important as Talent Angela L. Duckworth University of Pennsylvania 1
  • 2. The Treadmill 2
  • 3. Recipe for achievement The truly eminent have “ability combined with zeal and the capacity for hard labor.” -Francis Galton 3
  • 4. Darwin to Galton “… I have always maintained that… men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work....” 4
  • 5. And Tiger Mom says…•  “But just because you love something … doesnt mean youll ever be great. Not if you dont work. Most people stink at the things they love.” 5
  • 6. Achievement = Talent x Effort 6
  • 7. “It takes about ten years to make a mature dancer”“Dancing appearsglamorous, easy,delightful. But the path tothe paradise of thatachievement is not easierthan any other. There isfatigue so great that thebody cries even in itssleep. There are times ofcomplete frustration.There are daily smalldeaths.” -Martha Graham 7
  • 8. Skill as a function Skill of deliberate practice Age (years) 8Figure adapted with permission from “The scientific study of expert levels of performance” by K.A. Ericsson, p. 90, © 1998
  • 9. 9
  • 10. Common traits of 300 geniuses•  Tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something fresh because of novelty. Not “looking for a change”•  Tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness. 10
  • 11. 11
  • 12. 12
  • 13. 13
  • 14. Grit predicts commission and retention among sales agents Sales Retention$30,000.00 70% 60%$25,000.00 50%$20,000.00 40%$15,000.00 30%$10,000.00 20% $5,000.00 10% $- 0% Least gritty Most gritty Least gritty Most gritty 14
  • 15. National Spelling Bee 15
  • 16. Deliberate practice is hard …and not that fun Enjoyment 7.5 Effort 6.5 5.5 4.5 3.5 Deliberate Tes ting Verbal Practice Leis ure 16 Activities
  • 17. 17
  • 18. West Point Beast Barracks 18
  • 19. Summer Retention 0.98 GritSummer Retention 0.96 0.94 0.92 Whole Candidate 0.9 Score 0.88 1 2 3 4 Quartile 19
  • 20. Counterfactual thinking 20
  • 21. Counterfactual Comparison B  =  1.78*B  =  -­‐.59* B  =  -­‐.31* Grit Retention (B  =  -­‐.05) 21
  • 22. .32*** Grit .12* OptimisticExplanatory Performance Style .21*** .15*** Life Satisfaction 22
  • 23. Selecting for grit 23
  • 24. Searching resumes for grit•  Warning signs –  Multiple industry changes over a short period –  No evidence of sustained commitment to any activity, sport, or job throughout college –  No objective evidence of advancement (e.g., promotion, transfer to better company)•  What to look for –  Multi-year projects in which there is clear progression over time 24
  • 25. Grit Score! Sample Profile! Explanation! 0! No multi-year involvement in any activities " " 1! Member of the swim team for three years but did not 1 pt for multi-year activity; advance or win an award; no other multi-year No other multi-year activities" activities " 2! Member of the mock trial team for two years and won 1 pt for multi-year activity +1 pt for moderate the most improved award; no other multi-year achievement in that activity; No other multi- activities year activities" " 3! Member of a fraternity for three years but no 1pt for multi-year activity; leadership roles; Assistant manager at the local 1 pt for multi-year activity + 1pt for moderate movie theatre for three years " achievement in that activity" 4! Camp counselor at local summer camp for three 1pt for multi-year activity; years; Player on the volleyball team for three years 1pt for multi-year activity + 2pts for high and captain in her senior year achievement in that activity " " 5! President of the student body for three years; 1pt for multi-year activity + 2pts for high treasurer for the Kite and Key Club for two years " achievement in that activity; 1 pt for multi-year activity + 1 pt for moderate achievement in that activity " 6! Member of the cross-country team for four years and 1pt for multi-year + 2pts for high achievement voted MVP in senior year; Founder and President for in that activity; two years of the University’s Habitat for Humanity 1 pt for multi-year and 2 pts for high chapter " achievement in that activity " 25
  • 26. Novice teachers 26
  • 27. Retention (d = .79***)4.5 43.5 32.5 21.5 10.5 n = 33 n = 121 0 Resigned Persisted 27
  • 28. Teacher effectiveness (d = .42*) n = 41 n = 803.2 Less effective Effective 28
  • 29. Building grit•  Personality traits, including grit, are stable but not static…Think of them as habits –  Stability comes largely from genetic factors –  Change comes from experience•  Build a culture of grit –  People respond dramatically to the norms of behavior established by the people around them 29
  • 30. First, help employees choose the path of least resistance•  Choose easy. Work hard. –  “Race your strengths. Train your weaknesses.”•  Choose based on –  Talents, interests, and personality traits•  Work on –  Specific aspects of your performance which most need improvement 30
  • 31. Sometimes you have to be gritty for someone else •  “At eleven, I wanted to bag it because I was doing very badly...” •  “My dad at that point did something that was very important. He said, ‘If you want to quit, that’s fine. But I don’t want you to quit simply because you’re losing…So, I’m going to continue to drive you to workouts and force you to swim and once you turn 12 and are at the top of your age group, you’ll start to do well. If you want to quit then, that’s fine.” (pp. 207-208) 31
  • 32. Why you’re needed•  A partner (or manager) understands the situation but is “psychologically distanced” 32
  • 33. Teach them to be gritty for themselves•  Your employee is losing motivation – what do you do?•  First, listen. Second, mirror. Third, empathize.•  Then, advise “Never quit on a bad day” –  Rather, schedule “should I quit?” conversations in advance –  Don’t allow for “should I quit?” doubts between these conversations –  Patterned after worry postponement therapy 33
  • 34. Help your employee understand why they are losing motivation•  One feeling – burnout – can have different causes: –  LACK OF IMMEDIATE PLEASURE: Practice/effort feels tedious or frustrating in the moment –  PESSIMISM/FIXED MINDSET: I don’t think I can do it, no matter how hard I try. I don’t think it’s possible to get better, just to show how good I “really” am. –  OPPORTUNITY COST: There is a better, alternative goal 34
  • 35. Create a culture of coaching•  Coaches provide –  Feedback on performance –  Suggestions for improvement •  Specific •  Strategic •  Targeted at a single component, not the whole darn thing 35
  • 36. Making progress toward goals is the best motivator. 36
  • 37. Goal setting and planning*•  Goal setting –  What specific goal do I want to achieve? –  What good thing will happen if I achieve this goal? –  What obstacles stand in the way of my reaching this goal?•  Planning where, when, and how you will get around or avoid the obstacles –  “If it is a weekday at 6pm, then I will go to my bedroom and do my work.” *work by Oettingen, Gollwitzer, Duckworth, et al. 37
  • 38. Longitudinal study of fifth graders in Harlem 82 3.8 81 3.7 80 3.6 Conduct 79 3.5GPA 78 3.4 77 3.3 76 3.2 75 3.1 MCII Control MCII Control 44 43.5 Attendance 43 42.5 42 41.5 41 38 MCII Control
  • 39. Will Power“I consider myself to beof basically averagetalent…”“The key to life is on atreadmill…When I say Iam going to run threemiles, I run five. Withthat mentality, it isactually difficult to lose.” 39
  • 40. The last word"While the other guys sleeping, Imworking…While the other guys eating, Imworking…While the other guys making love– I mean, Im making love, too……but Im working really hard at it!" 40