Demonstrate Your GritAngela Duckworth

When Angela Duckworth was a little girl, her dad used to talk to her about the importance of intelligence and natural talent. Not convinced that these were the only important traits, she grew up to study everything else that makes a difference to who you become in life and what you accomplish. Her work focuses on grit: the combination of passion and perseverance for achieving long-term goals. She’s published a bestselling book on the topic.

Gritty people show up earlier than they have to, stay later than they need to, and commit 100% of their efforts the entire time they work on something to do the best job they can. Gritty people also tend to be some of the happiest people, because they dedicate their lives to goals that they are passionate about and find motivating.

Everyone can develop grit if they understand what it is and where it comes from. Angela outlines three tips for achieving grit:

1 . Notice your interests - Ask yourself which activities give you energy and draw your attention. If you are passionate about a topic, you are more likely to follow through.

2. Practice deliberately - Focus on your weaknesses, concentrate fully, and actively seek feedback from teachers or parents to help you learn and improve.

3. Seek purpose - Ask how your work makes the lives of other people better and serves a cause bigger than yourself.
To boost your grit, reflect on a past failure and a past success, using the exercise below.

Guiding Activity

Part 1: Reflecting on a Failure:

Find an item in your home that best represents your identity or uniqueness—one of your points of difference. Show us what you found and explain why. For example, you might want to show us your culture, and therefore pick an item you use for a family tradition. You might want to describe yourself as a good listener, and therefore show headphones. You might describe yourself as “someone who holds everything together really well,” and therefore show a paper clip. Please do not let these ideas stifle your creativity! 

1. How did the failure happen? Include as many details as you can.

2. Describe at least one way in which this failure changed you for the better. 

Part 2: Reflecting on a Success:

Think about a time you succeeded at something important to you. This success can be from any area of your life: school, extracurricular activities, hobbies, or personal relationships, for example. Once you’ve thought of one, write down answers to the following two questions:

1. How did the success happen? Include as many details as you can.

2. What steps did you take to make this success a reality?

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