Ever wonder why some folks succeed and others don’t?  Why some folks seem to stick it out and never quit while others give up quickly?  Well, psychologists have spent decades and businesses have spent big dollars on trying to figure this out.  One researcher, perhaps motivated by her father’s constant message while growing up, “You’re no genius!” dug into these questions.  By the way, she ended up receiving the MacArthur Fellowship, often called the “genius grant”, earned a BA in neurobiology from Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience from Oxford, and a doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania where she is a psychology professor.  Among many other accomplishments, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.  Ah the power of daddy’s negative reinforcement!

This complex question causes us to consider many factors: luck, talent, opportunity, emotional intelligence, physical talent, IQ, consciousness, self-control, imagination, and so many more. But this scholar, through years of research with varying populations, i.e., West Point cadets, teachers, spelling bee contestants, peak performance experiments, and others, derived the concept of Grit:  a combination of passion and perseverance.  Her research resulted in many interesting findings: talent is no guarantee of Grit; Grit predicted who stayed and who left in a large population of sales professionals; who graduated and who did not in the Chicago Public School system; who made it to the final rounds of the National Spelling Bee; and so much more.

With all this data supporting the relevance of Grit, she is the first to admit that Grit isn’t everything.  But she does say:

… Grit holds special significance for the achievement of excellence.  This is true whether the endeavor in question is physical, mental, entrepreneurial, civic, or artistic.  When you look at the best of the best across domains, the combination of passion and perseverance sustained over the long term is a common denominator.  It is often said that the last mile is the longest.  Grit keeps you on the path.  Angela Duckworth, PhD (2016)

So how Gritty are you?  The Grit Scale (2004) emerged from Duckworth’s data and is provided below.

                Not at all     Not much     Somewhat     Mostly    Very much
                like me        like me      like me      like me   like me                                                                        
1. New ideas 
and projects.         
sometimes            5            4            3            2           1
distract me from 
previous ones.
2. Setback don’t 
discourage me.       1            2            3            4           5
I don’t give up 
3. I often set a 
goal but later       5            4            3            2           1 
choose to pursue
a different one.     

4. I am a hard 
worker.              1            2            3            4           5      
5. I have 
maintaining my 
focus on projects    5            4            3            2           1
thattake more 
than a few months 
to achieve.
6. I finish          1            2            3            4           5 
whatever I begin.           
7. My interests 
change from          5            4            3            2           1 
year to year.
8. I am diligent. 
I never give up.     1            2            3            4           5
9. I have been 
obsessed with a
certain idea or      5            4            3            2           1
project for a       
short time but 
later lost 
10. I have 
overcome setbacks
to conquer an        1            2            3            4           5

To calculate your total Grit Score, add up all your points and divide by 10.  The maximum possible score is 5 (very Gritty) and the lowest score is 1 (not at all Gritty).  The chart below can be used to see where you stand in the study’s large sample of American adults.  For example, if you scored 4.1, you’re Grittier than 70 % of the adults sampled.  Since Grit has 2 components (passion and perseverance), you can dig deeper into your score by calculating your score for each of the 2 components.  For your passion score, add up your points for the odd-numbered questions and divide by 5.  Do the same for the even-numbered questions for your perseverance score.

Percentile                                          Grit Score

10%                                                    2.5

20%                                                    3.0

30%                                                    3.3

40%                                                    3.5

50%                                                    3.8

60%                                                    3.9

70%                                                    4.1

80%                                                    4.3

90%                                                    4.5

95%                                                    4.7

99%                                                    4.9

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:  Calculate your Grit Score and see where you stand.

Supporting Your Success!