Why does grit matter?

One way to think about grit is to consider what grit isn’t. Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

Instead, grit is about having a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal over time. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow.

Talent and luck matter to success. But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit. And in the very long run, grit may matter as least as much, if not more, to what you achieve.

    What does grit look like?

    Students with grit might

    • develop and deepen their interests
    • stick with commitments, even when it’s difficult
    • not quit a sport in the middle of the season
    • revise an essay repeatedly
    • ask other people for feedback about how they can improve

    Teachers with grit might

    • voraciously seek feedback on their classroom practice
    • strive every day to do one small thing better than they did it yesterday 
    • adjust low-level plans as needed in order to reach high-level course goals
    • not let students and other teachers quit on hard days
    • practice self-care; approach teaching as a marathon, not a sprint

    Teach grit in the classroom

    Expert Practice


    Help students build incrementally toward mastery.

    Videos about grit

    Research articles about grit

    Self-control and grit: Related but separable determinants of success
    Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(5), 319–325. 
    Duckworth, A., & Gross, J. J. (2014). 
    Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087.
    Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). 
    The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance
    Psychological Review, 100(3), 363.
    Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993).