There are no shortcuts to excellence
I know that instructional time is a zero-sum game, but if we want kids to do well academically, it's hard to imagine that happening if they don't have some control over their attention.
You cannot will yourself to be interested in something you're not interested in. But you can actively discover and deepen your interest.
Is it 'a drag' that passions don't come to us all at once, as epiphanies, without the need to actively develop them? Maybe. But the reality is that our early interests are fragile, vaguely defined, and in need of energetic, years-long cultivation and refinement.
I'm not a policy oriented person. I'm constrained to what I study. But educational policy has not yet taken adequate note of the whole child. Kids are not just their IQ or standardized test scores. It matters whether or not they show up, how hard they work.
Many, many individuals will report starting to form their lifelong interests around adolescence. Why that is, researchers don't fully know. But if you can take a trip down memory lane and see what interested you, that's at least a clue as to where your interest may begin to develop.
I now have Grit Scale scores from thousands of American adults. My data provide a snapshot of grit across adulthood. And I've discovered a strikingly consistent pattern: grit and age go hand in hand. Sixty-somethings tend to be grittier, on average, than fifty-somethings, who are in turn grittier than forty-somethings, and so on.
I do think that whatever ambition I may have had natively was amplified by my father's clear valuing of it. I knew that was what my dad really cared about.
Nobody gets to be good at something without effort, no matter what your aptitude is.
I don't think that every child in America is going to necessarily aspire to, you know, a four-year degree from a liberal arts college or a certain kind of life. I think that people should learn to be excellent in the thing that they choose to do.
I didn't tell my kids, 'You have to play viola, and you have to play piano.' They chose these things on their own, and I don't think we have to give kids every choice, but we do have to give them some choice because that autonomy is crucial for fostering passion.
Grit may carry risk because it's about putting all your eggs in one basket, to some extent.
I think that is just a limitation of any questionnaire - that we apply a frame of reference or standard. It's a well-known finding in psychology that when people are total beginners at a skill, they tend to overrate their skill level. They don't know what they don't know. The more expert you are, the more critical you become.
If you're never able to tolerate a little bit of pain and discomfort, you'll never get better.
I think it's very important to send the message that, while parents are needed to remind you to practice and occasionally force you to finish things... they also need to learn to respect you. You as an individual, ultimately, are the captain of where you're going.
I will say that if my wildest dreams come true, I will, like, wake up one day, and I will be Carol Dweck, right? Because she is like everything I want to be.
I was a good novice teacher, but I did the things that were obvious. I stayed for lunch for extra tutoring, gave kids my cell phone, and was available. In my first year of teaching, I ended up doubling the math time that a conventional school would have. But I don't think any of these things were path-breaking or unusual.
I know a lot of CEOs who are looking for three- to four-year varsity athletes - not necessarily because these people are going to be doing pushups or spiking volleyballs in the workplace, but because they're looking for that continuity, that person who was gritty about something.
When people think of the word 'drive,' they often think you have it or you don't, and that's where we're wrong. Drive is something that can be encouraged by a wonderful teacher, by a terrific classroom environment, by an awesome soccer team that you are on, and it can be squashed as well.
Grittier students are more likely to earn their diplomas; grittier teachers are more effective in the classroom. Grittier soldiers are more likely to complete their training, and grittier salespeople are more likely to keep their jobs. The more challenging the domain, the more grit seems to matter.