Go Grit! Part 2 of 2

Today we revisit last week’s post on GRIT. Paul Tough  wrote a NY Times Magazine Article that caused quite a controversy regarding the “secret to success.” He argues that the experience of failure, as opposed to the rigor of academics, leads to character building and ultimately to success. 

In this blog post from Aha Parenting's Dr. Laura Markham, she writes about the counter argument to Tough's stance on failure as the key to success. Dr. Markham holds that emotional intelligence is what helps kids succeed, and that self-regulation is key to helping children build this important skill. 

Grit is the “perseverance and passion for long term goals.” What if, rather than one or the other, experiencing failure AND cultivating emotional intelligence were both key factors in developing grit? 

As we mentioned last week, step one in having grit is to ALLOW SETBACKS TO HAPPEN. Notice that we didn’t use the word FAILURE. Setbacks are the challenges that everyone faces in life. The way teens (and parents) approach these setbacks contribute to our overall outlook on life, including whether we fight them, ignore them or accept and learn from them.

Here’s another thing to consider. Is a failure really a failure if you learn something valuable from it? 

What do you think? Chime in! How do you define grit? What do you think about how emotional intelligence and experience of failure contribute to building character?

For more on these topics, check out some of our older GirlTips that speak about emotion regulation, resilience and self-compassion.

Go Grit! Part 1 of 2


Grit. Don’t you love/hate that word? It sounds like something we might have between our teeth. The definition of grit, particularly when it comes to teens, really has to do with “the perseverance and passion for long term goals.” This article explains that grit is an excellent predictor for future success – even better than one’s IQ or test scores! The article also indicates 3 steps that help teens develop grit:

1. Allow setbacks to happen. We can’t control everything and life is full of setbacks and mistakes. Remember all the GirlTips we’ve posted about self-compassion? This is a wonderful reminder that life and humans are full of imperfections. When you think about it, setbacks actually help us in the end!

2. Embrace Challenges. Do something difficult and then remind yourself of step number 1 when you get stuck!

3. Develop a “Growth Mindset." Life isn’t just a checklist. We must focus not just on achieving but also the process getting there.

Angela Lee Duckworth is a researcher of grit and self-control. In fact, she influenced the above article a great deal! She talks about her background and explains grit in her TED talk video below. For more information visit her website and stay tuned next week for Go Grit Part 2!