Grit: This book shows the key ingredients to students’ success academically and beyond

By in Culture
Supplied | Kristine Jones

Grit by Angela Duckworth shows that it is not “genius” or talent that drives people success, but rather passion and perseverance.

The book begins with Duckworth saying that she heard the word “genius” many times growing up and her father always claimed that she was not one. Many years later, she became the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant,” due to her findings that accomplishments “may depend more on passion and perseverance” over innate talent.

Duckworth’s stance is quite powerful. Things such as IQ scores, intelligence and talent are a topic of interest for many parents the moment they see their child show promise. Being considered a “genius” as a child certainly has its allure. However, there are consequences to a society that praises a child’s early potential rather than cultivating it.

When you buy into your culture’s definitions of “success,” it may be difficult to stray away from particular ventures such as attending university. Personally, this concept is relatable because I cannot imagine a “successful” life without post-secondary education in the picture. When I do imagine that kind of life, I feel lost.

But this tri-part book expands on the importance of grit not only on the topic of success. Already, the first chapter dives into the act of showing up. It talks about principle versus practice, and how simply never giving up gets you through challenges — no matter the difficulties. The chapter suggests that people who don’t have grit thrive when the conditions are good, “but fall apart when things aren’t.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, students across the globe have been impacted in unexpected ways. Aside from dealing with remote learning and communication, people are also learning how to cope with the newfound challenge of maintaining productivity while being a homebody. Undoubtedly, this pandemic has forced everyone to act and think quickly with the constant changes that are happening around them.

The uncertainty of what lies ahead plays a major factor on the decisions being made by just about anyone right now. But what does this mean for the future of students whose judgements are influenced by the current state of the world?

There are students who continued their education despite the overnight changes to the course delivery, while others chose to opt out until things return to normal — whatever that means for them. As major changes continue to occur due to the pandemic, many university students are now rethinking their plans for their future and whether pursuing university is worth anything to them at all.

Students need to develop their grit now more than ever. They are facing a situation that has never been taught in classrooms and the only way to overcome this hurdle is if they are adaptable, creative and determined to keep pushing. 

Grit in students is important because when motivation dwindles, discipline takes over. It takes some serious discipline to get out of bed, open your laptop and start watching online lectures, after months not being able to sit in an actual classroom.

Duckworth developed a set of questions for her research that are found within the book called the Grit Scale, a method used to measure one’s perseverance and passion scores. She also introduces a method and diagram on how to view goals in a hierarchy to decide which one to prioritize. She invites readers to have a moment of reflection on their level of grit. Ask yourself: how willing are you to do the same thing for a long period of time? 

As this book teaches, it is of utmost importance to stay in love — or committed — to the work that you have chosen to do in order to find not only success, but real meaning in your life. 

Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor

Photo: Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor