“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Self-control is the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions.”
Duckworth studied under Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, at the University of Pennsylvania where she is an associate professor. She has focused on what it means to succeed. Passion and perseverance are the essence of success and no one knows this better than Duckworth. Her extensive research has found something profound.
“Character is at least as important as IQ,” Duckworth says.
Duckworth’s research recently won her a $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship in 2013. It is an extraordinary honor. It has been dubbed by the media as the “genius” award because of the prominence of those selected, but the award does more than recognize what the recipient has already done.
While it is meant to appreciate and celebrate, it is largely given to inspire and promote creative development. It is specifically offered to help advance the potential the winner has for the creative expression of his or her work. In this regard Angela Duckworth’s potential is enormous. For more information check out the original extended Proof Positive blog at PsychCentral, or hear her speak about her work in this TED talk video.
Duckworth and her colleague devised a measure of grit and self-control that could predict successful outcomes in different situations better than other measures such as standardized testing. Grit scores predicted final ranking in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, perseverance at West Point Military Academy and graduation from Chicago public schools. Additionally, she found measures of self-control are better predictors than IQ of both report card grades and improvement in these grades.
You can find out your own grit score (free registration) right here from the Duckworth lab by clicking on the link to the right of the page.