Think of the most successful employees you’ve ever worked with, or the individuals you’ve mentored who excelled, or the leaders you’ve studied who seem to achieve every goal they set for themselves. Undoubtedly, a few common threads woven into their lives are the strength to discover why they failed, the skill to use that learning in the future to succeed, and the sheer will to get back on the horse and try again.
But exactly what is it that leads one person to try again when others just give up?
Industrial and organizational psychologists have spent decades researching this very subject. Angela Duckworth, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and her research focuses on a personality trait she calls “grit.” She defines grit as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” She writes that “the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”
Success and Talent
What causes an individ