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Morton Bast

editorial coordinator, TED


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Open thread: Having grit means living life like a marathon, not a sprint. Share your story of grit, and how it made a difference.

As a seventh-grade math teacher in New York, Angela Lee Duckworth quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled.

We'd like to start an open discussion on the idea that "grit" is one of the main factors for success in school and beyond. Does this ring true, in your experience? Have you ever seen grit make the difference between failure and success?

Topics: success

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  • May 9 2013: Angela Lee Duckworth says we do not know how to develop grit. Maybe that is because we usually pair grit with determination, but they are intertwined, and both refer to one's sense of selfhood, of self-reliance. The term grit adds an edge of resilience in the face of difficulty and discouragement. So how do we develop selfhood? If she is after a universal formula I doubt she will find it, but one perspective that I like is Erving Goffman's, which he espouses in his writings on total institutions: "it is . . . against something that the self can emerge. . . Without something to belong to, we have no stable self, and yet total commitment and attachment to any social unit implies a kind of selflessness. Our sense of being a person can come from being drawn into a wider social unit; our sense of selfhood can arise through the little ways in which we resist the pull."

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