..is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. One way to think about grit is to consider what grit isn’t. Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.
Instead, grit is about having what some researchers call an”ultimate concern”–a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow. Talent and luck matter to success. But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit. And in the very long run, I think grit may matter as least as much, if not more.
I study grit because it predicts achieving goals, but I want to point out that grit is more relevant to some goals than others. In particular, grit predicts achievement in really challenging and personally meaningful contexts. Graduating from high school or college rather than dropping out is one example. Returning to the National Spelling Bee with hopes of doing better than you did last year is another. But there are other goals for which enduring passion and perseverance are less relevant. Getting started on your taxes before April 15 takes self-control more than grit, for instance. Ditto for studying for a history test on Friday when you’d rather be on Instagram.
…grit is related to two other characteristics: self-control and conscientiousness. Someone demonstrating high self-control or high conscientiousness is also likely to score high in grit. But are they so similar that they actually measure of the same underlying personality trait? I don’t think so. I have found that grit predicts achieving challenging goals even when these other characteristics are held constant. For instance, grit is a more reliable predictor of making it through the first, tough summer of West Point military training than either self-control or conscientiousness.
So while grit may not be a new idea in Indian households, it definitely has received plenty of attention in the United States.
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