Grit and Resilience
I came across an interesting article on the ABC News website a few days ago which really struck a chord. It focused on the importance of a growth mindset, grit and resilience in achieving our goals and basically getting what we want in life. The author framed these terms in a particular way and she began with the concept of ‘grit’. She stated that having grit is like running a marathon and it is important to view life as a marathon and not a sprint. The reason for this is that taking a longer-term view can help us better navigate the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Grit can be defined as having passion and perseverance, sticking to long-term goals and having the emotional stamina to keep going when others have given up. Research from the US has shown that students who scored higher on tests that measured their level of grit or resilience were significantly more likely to succeed, even when all other factors were taken into account, such as how poor or wealthy students’ families were or how they fared in aptitude tests.
So the burning question is ‘how do we build grit?’ and there is no clear answer here. However, the work done by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck may provide some clues.Dweck works extensively with the concept of a ‘growth mindset’.According to Dweck, a growth mindset “is the belief that intelligence can be developed, which leads to a desire to learn, a tendency to embrace challenges, to persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery and to find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.”
In simple terms Dweck is indicating that self-belief is a very powerful factor. By believing that we are capable of change and growth and seeing setbacks as only a temporary obstacle to achieving our goals is crucial. The implications for students are clear. Having an attitude of sticking with stuff, maintaining a positive mindset even when we fail, and having the resilience to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off are crucial qualities in developing grit.
The author quotes Nelson Mandela and he most certainly deserves the last word in this area. “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Have a lovely weekend.
Dr Frank Pitt
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