Can 'Grit' Be Cultivated?

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Bestselling author John Irving got a C- in English. Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young started his college career as an eighth-string quarterback at Brigham Young University. The astronomer Copernicus was believed to have just a slightly above average IQ. And yet, despite these seemingly inauspicious beginnings, each of these individuals possessed a quality that propelled them to greatness: perseverance – or grit as it’s now being called. Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” Furthermore, she believes grit can be cultivated. That’s why some public schools in states like California have incorporated grit in classroom teachings and some are even grading children on it. The idea is that teaching kids to be grittier – to persevere and not give up when the going gets tough, or the math problem seems unsolvable – may help them academically and in life.