In today’s academic and business world, the skills that you acquire throughout life is essential to develop your capabilities in an ideal manner to thrive. Yet, there seems to be an additional quality that has an apparent effect on the outcome of ones’ personal success, and that quality is grit. Those who intend to apply and complete college and find future success must instill themselves with grit in order to persevere through the hardships they will face throughout their lives.
The Scientific Approach
University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Duckworth, the leading intellectual mind on the outcome of grit regarding success, states “Grit entails working strenuously towards challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress” (Duckworth, 1087). To clarify, grit can be equated to that of persevering, defined as “to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty…. [Continuing] steadfast” (Merriam-Webster). Duckworth believes that the key to ensure success and a thriving academic or career-driven life, instilling oneself with this definition of grit will thrust them towards this goal. As a current college student at the University of California at Davis, I see first-hand the reality of her statement. Everyone struggles throughout the challenges and hardships of school and/or their careers, but those who persevere and continue their persistence towards the tasks at hand will always overcome those who break when given a challenging and daunting task.
In a test conducted at the United Military Academy at West Point, Angela Duckworth created a “Grit Test” study in order to see the impact that the exhibition of grit has on soldiers and whether or not they are qualified to lead, give orders, etc. This gives an insight on how those in the workplace work and operate, she states “Our hypothesis [is] that grit is essential to high achievement evolved during interviews with professionals in investment banking, painting, journalism, academia, medicine and law” (Duckworth, 1088). This test entailed asking the participant a series of eight to twelve questions such as “I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge” and “setbacks don’t discourage me” (Hanford, 1). This study used a point-scale in order to attain information on whether or not perseverance and grit have an effect on ones’ overall leadership capabilities. As a result of Duckworth’s test, “… grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness” (Hanford, 1). Although there are other externalities that lead to ones’ overall success, yet through the conduct of this study and Duckworth’s research we can now measure other characteristics of individual performance in order.
The influence that grit has for aspiring and current college students is evidential from the results of Duckworth’s study (Hanford, 1). Being gritty is a key proponent to the overall success of a college career. This quality does not guarantee success, but according to Duckworth’s research and supporting theories, grit will make the difference between two individuals at the same intellectual level. Duckworth’s research exploits the fact that we do not harness our full potential as individuals, and grit can make up the difference between what is utilized and what is wasted.
Grit is Essential for Success
Arianna Huffington, the President and Editor-in-Chief of the famous and highly read “Huffington Post” has faced many struggles and hardships in her climb to become one of the most influential names in journalism. As a Greek immigrant, Huffington overcame the language barrier she faced when attending Cambridge University. To leap over this hurdle she decided to persevere through her difficulties and as a result she decided to join the the world famous debate society “The Cambridge Union” and would later become the President of this prestigious organization. When asked what was the defining factor towards her climb in becoming one of the most influential women in the world she responded simply, “The difference between failure and success is Perseverance” (HuffingtonPost.com). Grit as a quality means far more than only showing up every single day, it is a quality that entails persisting with the most amount of effort possible to achieve ones’ goals. As a student, understanding and progressing ones’ individual level of grit is essential due to the competitive manner of the academic and career world. The slightest advantage that one has over another can be the difference of being selected for a high-paying position or having to fill out unemployment applications later in life.
In order to gain an additional perspective on the issue of grit and tenacity in an academic and specifically college setting, I conducted an interview with a fellow colleague who is attending a graduate program at Pacific Oaks School for Learning and Development. After gaining this perspective, it only further supported my position of the importance of emphasizing this quality more-so into modern day curriculum. Her journey to get to the position she is in today has been the product of hard work, determination, and of course – grit. While there were many factors that have led to her success, she undoubtedly knows of the utter importance grit has on ones’ academic and workplace careers.
For all students who aspire to become successful college graduates, the advice is simple: work hard, make sacrifices and persevere through all obstacles. If this is completed effectively by an individual based off of the research and from personal experiences one has the right formula to succeed. The research has been conducted and awareness is rising in this unexpected quality for success; there have been testimony from multiple sources as well which leads to further (See Appendix A). Performing an interview with someone who has experienced hardships and have overcome them shed light on the benefits that utilizing this skill has to offer. After hearing her side and studying the research there is absolutely no reason why anyone who is determined for success should not instill themselves with grit. Simply put. grit is an evident factor in the progression of ones’ success in their academic or career-driven lives.
Push for Progress and Development
The introduction of information provided by Angela Duckworth regarding the influence of grit on academic and career-driven success has gained the attention of the United States based on its direct application to youth and the future of economic, industrial, political and technological advancement. In February 2013, The Office of Education and Technology (OET, 2013) within the United States Department of Education drafted and released a report titled “Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” (McClarty, 1). This report places added emphasis on the evolving nature of the academic and business standards that are expected from departing college students and prior, making grit and perseverance the center-fold of the report. The report states:
“These factors [grit, tenacity and perseverance] are essential to an individual’s capacity to strive for and succeed at long-term and high-order goals, and to persist in the face of the array of challenges and obstacles encountered throughout schooling and life” (OET 2013).
This report is a push in the right direction for America by emphasizing the advantages and benefits of gearing more towards instilling grit, tenacity and perseverance within American academia and in society. Every college student will come across some form of an obstacle or restriction in their academic and social lives. The defining factor of what separates the successful from the non-successful has a large proportion to do with the level of grit one exhibits during these challenges.
If there is anything gained from reading this text, it is that throughout life there will be obstacles placed in front of you, but what will show your true character is how you as an individual overcome such hurdles and carry forward whether in school, work or life. Grit is the act of consistently persevering despite what kinds of restrictions are set in front of you. With additional research towards this subject, schools will emphasize this quality towards its students, and for any who truly expects themselves to complete a college education in this country, become familiar with grit now to ensure your success throughout your entire life.
I. Interview with Nicholette Issaevitch, graduate student at Pacific Oaks School for Development and Learning
- The following questions and answers were recorded on May 17, 2015 regarding the topic of ‘grit’ and whether or not there is an influential impact towards the success of students.
Q1- “Today we are discussing the term “grit”, are you familiar with it and how would you define it in your own words?”
A1- “The term is not as familiar as it should be. I would believe “grit” would have to be described as whatever in life is thrown your way, which can be either positive or negative, and how your actions and behavior is used to overcome those obstacles.”
Q2- “Can you describe an example of when you yourself realized that either grit was truly important or in which you can remember exhibiting yourself?”
A2- “Oh, absolutely. My father has been an alcoholic his entire life, sometimes leaving him in or out of the hospital and leaving me, my sister and mom to fend and be financially responsible for ourselves. When you have myself going to two schools while trying to work a part time job just to help out could be considered gritty.”
Q3- “And on top of everything you had to be expected to make good grades, show up on time and promptly to work, and the list goes on.”
A3- “Exactly, but everyone is dealt a different hand, and it is how you play that hand is what separates you from the next. I think of that every time I am placed in a situation where it is specific to me and my interests in which you can suck it up or fold the hand.”
Q4- “That analogy is another way to describe grit. I knew that speaking with you today would give an additional perspective on the importance of persevering through hardships. Thank you very much for your time and I’ll let you get back to your work.”
A4- “Of course, anytime.”
Works Cited Page
- Bahadur, N. (n.d.). Arianna MAKERS Interview: ‘The Difference Between Failure And Success Is Perseverance’ Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/09/arianna-makers-interview_n_4568692.html
- Duckworth, A., Peterson, C., Matthews, M., & Kelly, D. (n.d.). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1087-1101.
- Hanford, Emily. How Important is Grit in Student Achievement? (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/10/02/how-important-is-grit-in-student-achievement/
- Shectman, DeBarger, Dornsife, N. (2013, February 14). Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.pgbovine.net/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf
- McClarty, K. (2013, February 28). Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance – Pearson R&I. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://researchnetwork.pearson.com/college-career-success/grit-tenacity-and-perseverance