TED Conversations

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 10 2013: Hi Morton:>)
    My life experience tells me that there are many different factors which may contribute to our feeling of success....or not!

    To me, and also by definition, "grit" is... "hard, sharp, abrasive" with a touch of "firmness of mind or spirit. unyeilding courage in the face of hardship or danger".

    I embrace the "firmness of mind or spirit" part wholeheartedly. I do not accept or practice the hard, sharp, abrasive, or unyeilding concepts.

    I believe it is important to recognize and embrace ALL parts of the adventure, which for me, sometimes includes recognizing the soft, raw and vulnerable thoughts, feelings and emotions that an experience may stimulate. I also do not believe in being "unyeilding" because that suggests to me that we are not genuinely accepting the experience.

    For example, I yeilded to the fact that I have degenerative disc disease, which is often disabling, and I found ways to manage it so I am NOT disabled.

    I yeilded to the fact that I had cancer, and a near fatal head/brain injury (accepted the facts) and I faced the challenges with strength and courage (figured out how to best move through the challenges).

    "Firmness of mind or spirit" and "unyeilding" seems like a contradiction to me. When I recognize firmness of mind and spirit in myself, I recognize all "parts" of my "self", and to "yeild" at times when I have no control over circumstances, seems more clear, "firm" and strong to me.

    I LOVE and practice one of the beliefs of martial arts....come from the core with strength, and yeild. While I may consider "grit" as part of the underlying elements of success, I do not perceive it, as a single element to "make the difference between failure and success". I believe the greatest success, in anything we do, embraces ALL elements:>)

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