Grit: A Secret to Success

For past few decades, many believed that our children’s future success and potentialities were depending on the measure of their IQs (Intellectual Quotient). However, recent researches have proved that success was not simply a matter of intelligence or talent. Success had more to do with ability to persist in the face of obstacles and to stick with the same one goal. The recent scientific terms described this kind of personality trait: grit. This characteristic can be described as endurance in terms of TAC ideology.

“Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99% perspiration,” is a well-known quote by Thomas Edison. He had told us, about seven decades ago, that genius is the one who endures obstacle and overcome barriers to accomplish their goals. However, we have focused too much on one’s talent and intelligence when it comes to “success.” It is because the talent and intelligence were an exposed phenomenon whereas their perspiration and grits were hidden characteristic behind that big phenomenon. For example, Newton’s discovery of gravity seems like a sudden epiphany. An apple fell on top of his head and that explained whole ideas of gravity and orbits of the moon and beyond. In fact, Newton had studied and thought about gravity for a long time. He went through tedious and painstaking work. It is well known that he filled his notebooks with scribbles of equations and spent months to find the exact moment of a pendulum. This shows that his discovery of gravity was not an instinct insight.


Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at University of Pennsylvania is a pioneer of the study of Grit. She conducted a study based on the fifth graders in New York City Public School. She divided fifth graders into two groups A and B. She assigned an age-appropriated version of IQ test to both group. Then, she praised group A for their intelligence whereas group B was praised for their effort. She assigned them the second test, which was an upper grade level. There were different reactions in both groups. Group A were discouraged from doing the difficult problems, on the other hand, group B worked hard to finish the test. Then, they were given the third exam that was the same level as the first exam, and group A’s exam average decreased by 20% and whereas group B increased by 30%. This experiment clearly shows how efforts and endurance is the crucial maker of success.

Through this study, we realize the importance of stressing one’s qualitative value rather than quantitative value. When Group A was praised for their quantitative values like their grades and smartness, they became discouraged when they faced an obstacle. They refused to struggle through it. However, group B were able to struggle and endure because they were stressed on efforts they made. The researcher tried to convey that our mindset grow when we endure and go through a struggle. However, fixed minded people are those consider quantitative value as the most important trait and they give up when they meet an obstacle.


“And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” (Roman 5:3-4)

Jesus Christ exemplified endurance for us. He suffered from the cross and endured all the pain to achieve one goal: to save us.  At the end of all the obstacles and tribulations, He was glorified and elevated to heaven. He showed us the secret to success—Girt, the power to endure.


Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Self-discipline gives girls the edge: Gender in self-discipline, grades, and achievement test scores. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 198-208.

Lehrer, Jonah. “The truth about grit.” Boston Globe 02 Aug 2009.



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