Why are some people more successful than others?
Angela Duckworth, a researcher in America, has been investigating the concept of grit which she defines as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Her research suggests that grit predicts high achievement by inclining individuals to show up and work very hard, constantly, towards a goal for years and even decades. Also important to success is self-control but her research has differentiated grit from self-control by demonstrating that individuals with self-control can capably manage temptations (i.e. avoid going on their i‑phones, watching TV shows, going to the gym) but may not necessarily pursue a long-term goal.
Duckworth has studied famous musicians, athletes, army cadets and her research has found that those who have been more successful have spent more time engaged in;
- deliberate practice;
- pushing themselves out of their comfort zones;
- seeking feedback on their performance and
- repeatedly practising until they improved.
It is this belief in the capacity to overcome setbacks that allowed these individuals to move to the next step.
With exams coming up for students at De La Salle, many students may be disappointed with their marks. This will occur despite their persistent effort in their studies and it will be upsetting when they have not been able to obtain the score they so desperately wanted. However, one way to help your son develop grit is to help them cope with failure or setbacks. It is important for them to remember that it is impossible to learn anything without making mistakes along the way. In fact, there are several famous people who experienced failure many times over (e.g., J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan), but refused to give up. Give your son opportunities to fail in a caring, and supportive environment and if needed draw upon the strength of the word YET. This is helpful when students state “I can’t” or “I’m not able to.”
Here is a link to Angela Duckworth’s speech at Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Ceremony, 2018.
Ms Karina Dubroja
College Psychologist, Tiverton Campus