Can you develop Grit, or do you just have it?

Angela Duckworth recently talked to our company about Grit. I love this topic, but probably more so as it reminds me of my childhood. Grit tubs at the end of the road for when it got icy and dangerous to drive.


Grit I discovered through Gladwell books and sports science studies. What was discovered was a core component of success is grit.

Grit is a:

  • Personality trait
  • Passion and perseverance towards long-term goals
  • Sustained effort and interest in a specific activity over years in spite of hardship, disappointment and plateaus

Quoted from University of Sydney, faculty of education and social work. They did a study of 400 Australian Elite youth footballers and visited various footballing teams worldwide to see how they developed elite athletes;

While certain individuals may change goals and direction in the wake of disappointment or boredom, gritty individuals possess the fortitude to continually endeavour toward their goal even without immediate feedback or recognition. It was no surprise that grittier players invested more time than their peers, in competition and play, and performed bet

Angela described grit also as perseverance and passion (direction) over a long period time. Its related to something you are Interested in and think is important.

So, in answer to this blog posts topic, Grit can be developed because its sustained over a long period of time.

How can you harness and develop Grit?

If you are trying to be gritty you might want to think about a role model and ask yourself who are you trying to be like?

A growth mindset, another strong cultural meme at Microsoft, and grit are highly correlated she said, though growth mindset doesn’t guarantee other centred purpose

Perhaps you can give yourself hypothesis to test. Do one thing better every day. Ask yourself why, so you can’t find multiple routes to  a goal

Curiously millennials have had the lowest score in Grit – Grit may well be related to life experience. A maturity principle.

Leadership and Grit?

In terms of leading, and even parenting  there are ways of developing grit.  In general, encourage finish whatever you begin. Fulfil your commitments. Choose things that are hard.

Also recognise that passion comes from autonomy. Preserve, don't diminish autonomy.

Angela finished our session with a warning… be careful – there can be costs and risks with Grit. It can be consuming and can be single purposed, which is not always team or socially centred.

Recommended Books –

o Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

o Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise  < 10,000 hour study of Gladwell Outliers fame

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