September 4


Get Gritty: What is a Grit Mindset and Why You Need It

By Joshua Turner

September 4, 2023

Are you looking to achieve long-term success? Do you want to overcome challenges and obstacles personally and professionally? If so, you can develop a grit mindset.

Grit is a term coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth to describe the combination of passion and perseverance that leads to success. The mindset is a way of thinking that emphasizes the importance of effort, resilience, and determination in achieving goals.

Research shows that it predicts success better than intelligence, talent, or other factors. This article will explore the science behind it and how to develop a perspective aligned with determination to achieve your goals.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Grit Mindset

Grit mindset is a psychological concept that describes a person’s perseverance and passion for long-term goals. It is a personality trait closely related to positive psychology and has been found to be a key predictor of success in various areas of life. People with this trait tend to be more resilient, determined, and focused on achieving their goals.

Research has shown that it is not something people are born with but can be developed over time. It involves many factors, including a growth perspective, a sense of purpose, and a willingness to work hard and persevere through challenges. Setbacks or failures do not deter people with this perspective but view them as opportunities to learn and grow.

One of its critical components is the belief that effort and hard work are essential for success. People with this personality trait understand that achieving their goals requires sustained effort and are willing to do the necessary work. They also tend to be more self-disciplined and have a greater sense of self-control, which allows them to stay focused on their goals even when faced with distractions or temptations.

In addition to being associated with tremendous success in various areas of life, this frame of mind has also been linked to better mental health outcomes. People with this trait tend to be more resilient in the face of adversity and are less likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. They are also more likely to experience greater life satisfaction and overall well-being.

The Role of Passion and Perseverance

The Power of Passion

Passion is a powerful motivator that drives individuals to pursue their goals enthusiastically. When someone is passionate about something, they are more likely to put in the effort required to achieve their long-term goals. It can also help individuals overcome obstacles and setbacks that may arise along the way.

The Importance of Perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to persist in the face of challenges and setbacks. It is a vital trait for anyone who wants to achieve their long-term goals. Perseverance requires effort, motivation, and drive. It is the willingness to keep going even when things get tough.


To be successful, individuals need to combine passion and perseverance. Passion provides the motivation and drive to pursue a goal, while determination ensures they keep going, even when things get complicated.

The Science Behind Grit Mindset

Angela Duckworth’s Research

Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, is known for her research on grit. She defines it as the combination of passion and perseverance towards long-term goals.

Her studies found that it was a better predictor of success than intelligence or IQ. Duckworth developed the Grit Scale, which measures an individual’s level of determination.

Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset Theory

Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, is known for her research on the growth mindset.

According to Dweck, individuals with a growth mindset believe their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.

On the other hand, individuals with a fixed perspective believe that their abilities are fixed and cannot be changed. Dweck’s research has shown that individuals with a growth viewpoint are more likely to embrace challenges and persist through obstacles.

In a meta-analysis of 113 studies, Marcus Crede and his colleagues found that grit and a growth perspective are positively associated with academic achievement. However, the two constructs were found to be distinct from each other. While the personality trait measures perseverance towards long-term goals, the frame of mind measures beliefs about the malleability of one’s abilities.

Grit and Success

Grit vs Talent

Grit is the ability to persevere through setbacks and failures, while talent refers to natural abilities and skills. While talent can certainly be an advantage, research shows that grit better predicts success. Studies have found that individuals with high levels of grit are more likely to achieve long-term goals and succeed in areas where talent alone may not be enough.

Grit in Adults

Adults with high levels of grit are more likely to overcome setbacks and failures and are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with achieving long-term goals.

Grit in Children

Children with high levels of grit are more likely to persist in the face of challenges and are better equipped to achieve long-term goals. Studies have found that it better predicts academic achievement than IQ or talent.

Building a Grit Mindset

Cultivating Resilience

To build a grit perspective, one must cultivate resilience. This means learning to bounce back from setbacks and failures.

One way to do this is by reframing setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Another way is by seeking out supportive relationships and building a solid social network.

Embracing Failure

Failure is not a sign of weakness but rather an opportunity to learn and improve. To embrace failure, one must adopt a growth frame of mind and focus on the process rather than the outcome. This means celebrating progress and learning from mistakes.


Consistency means setting goals and developing habits that support those goals. It also means showing up every day, even when it’s hard. Consistency builds momentum and helps to develop the discipline and resilience needed to achieve long-term goals.


Long-Term Goals

Long-term goals are the ultimate test of determination. To achieve a long-term goal, be willing to put in the hard work and practice required. This means breaking the goal down into smaller, manageable steps and tracking progress along the way. It also means staying focused and committed, even when going is tough.

Grit in the Classroom

Mindset Interventions

Interventions can effectively improve academic performance, retention, and educational attainment. Teaching students to adopt a positive perspective can allow educators to encourage students to embrace challenges and persist through difficulties. This can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and, ultimately, higher GPA.

Role of Feedback and Criticism

When students receive constructive feedback, they are better equipped to understand their strengths and weaknesses and make improvements. Criticism, when delivered in a supportive and constructive manner, can also help students develop resilience and perseverance.

In the classroom, educators can provide feedback and criticism through various methods, such as peer reviews, self-assessments, and rubrics. These tools can help students develop a growth viewpoint and build the skills necessary to succeed academically and professionally.

Case Studies of Grit

West Point Military Academy

West Point Military Academy is known for its rigorous training and selection process, which requires cadets to exhibit a high level of determination.

In a study by Duckworth, cadets who scored higher on the grit scale were more likely to graduate from the academy than those who scored lower. The study also found that it was a better predictor of success than other factors, such as intelligence, physical fitness, and leadership potential.

National Spelling Bee

The National Spelling Bee is an annual competition that tests the spelling abilities of young students. To qualify for the competition, students must win their school and regional spelling bees, which requires significant practice and dedication.

In a study conducted by Duckworth, spelling bee participants who exhibited higher levels of determination were likelier to advance further in the competition than those who did not.

Critiques and Controversies of Grit

One of the main criticisms is that it is not a unique or novel concept but rather a rebranding of existing traits such as conscientiousness, persistence, and self-control. Some argue that it is simply a buzzword that lacks empirical evidence and is not a predictor of success.

Another critique is that it emphasizes individual effort and perseverance too much, ignoring the role of external factors such as obstacles and systemic barriers. This suggests that it may be more applicable to specific contexts, such as those with greater access to resources and opportunities.

Some researchers have raised concerns about its consistency of interest aspect, arguing that it may be unrealistic to expect individuals to maintain a singular passion or interest over a long period. Others have pointed out that the emphasis on consistency of interest may discourage exploration and experimentation, which are essential for personal growth and development.

Despite these critiques, it remains a popular concept in psychology and beyond. Some researchers have attempted to address these criticisms by exploring its nuances and complexities, such as hardiness and optimism’s role in developing a resilient viewpoint.



A grit mindset is a powerful tool to help individuals achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. It is not just about being persistent but also about having the hope and energy to keep going. This can lead to improved well-being and fulfillment in one’s journey.

It also means having a strong heart and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. It involves focusing on the process rather than the outcome and being willing to put in the effort and work required to succeed.

It is important to note that it does not come naturally to everyone. It requires practice and dedication to develop. However, anyone can cultivate this trait and reap its benefits with the right perspective and approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some characteristics of a person with a grit mindset?

They are determined, persistent, and resilient. They do not give up easily, even in the face of adversity. They are willing to put in the effort and hard work to achieve their goals and are not afraid of failure.

What are some examples of grit in action?

Examples include athletes who train tirelessly to achieve their goals, entrepreneurs who persistently work to build their businesses, and students who study diligently to achieve academic success. In each case, the individuals demonstrate determination and perseverance, hallmarks of this frame of mind.

How does having a grit mindset contribute to success?

It allows individuals to overcome obstacles and persevere in the face of challenges. With it, individuals are more likely to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

What is the difference between a grit mindset and a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief that one can develop abilities through hard work and dedication.

In contrast, a grit mindset is the determination and perseverance to achieve one’s goals, even in the face of obstacles.

How can someone develop a grit mindset?

It requires practice and effort. Individuals can create it by setting challenging goals, persisting in the face of obstacles, and learning from failures. Cultivating a positive attitude and perspective is vital, focusing on progress and growth rather than the outcome.

What are some real-life examples of people who exhibit a grit mindset?

Real-life examples include J.K. Rowling, who numerous publishers rejected before finally finding success with the Harry Potter series, and Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team but became one of the greatest basketball players ever.

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