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Getting Gritty: How A Growth Mindset Can Build Grit

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    Many people including myself, once believed that the smarter someone was, the more likely it was for them to become successful. Unlike these people and myself, Dr. Duckworth believes that someone’s IQ nor talent has anything to do with their chances of becoming successful. Dr. Duckworth was a seventh-grade math teacher in Chicago who noticed that the difference between her top students and her students who struggled had nothing to do with how smart they were.

    She attended graduate school to become a psychologist and to study the cause of this major gap. Her research led her to believe in the theory of grit being a key factor that will determine someone’s chances of being successful or not. Dr. Duckworth’s definition of grit is having passion and perseverance to start and follow through with long term goals. Science has not yet discovered how to produce a scale to measure grit, but in Dr. Duckworth’s speech she presented the following characteristics that may play a role in determining whether someone possesses grit.

    Dr. Duckworth was unable to offer guidance on how to build grit because it is a fairly new theory; However, she believes having a growth mindset could lead to someone being grittier. The concept of having a growth mindset is to know that by pushing yourself to work harder you could grow into being able to achieve a goal that you couldn’t achieve before.

    This theory was introduced by Dr. Carol Dweck. In a video lecture titled “Developing a growth mindset with Carol Dweck” Dr. Dweck discusses her inspiration for this theory as well as ways to develop a growth mindset. Dr. Dweck’s inspiration for this theory was brought upon by the grading system used by a high school in Chicago.

    Rather than grading students with a failing grade, the school produced an alternative of “Not Yet”. She believes that giving the students a grade of not yet opens more doors for the student to grow into their success rather than a failing grade subconsciously telling students that their state of failure is a final judgement.

    This will ultimately lead the student into building the opposite of a growth mindset, a fixed mindset. I’m sure you may know that not all students practice a growth mindset. Some may have to work a little harder than others to get out of that fixed mindset mentality. Listed are some suggestions that Dr. Dweck encourages students to practice in order to build a “Bridge to yet”.

    Rewarding the process, strategies, and focus that the student may have practiced coming up with a solution instead of praising talent and simply just knowing the right answer. This will encourage the student to push themselves and choose more difficult tasks to work on in the future. It will also build resiliency to drive on even if they have not yet succeeded.

    Simply using the phrases “Yet” and “Not yet” will subconsciously build the confidence and courage in the students who have not yet met the learning requirements needed. They will be able to see themselves blazing a trail if they try a little harder rather than seeing themselves at a dead-end road with nowhere else to go.

    Pushing yourself to step out of your learning comfort zones. This will change your mindset by forcing your brain to think outside the box. By pushing your brain to go places it has never been will make your brain come up with things that it has never thought of before. This will create new boundaries and possibly make stronger connections to things you may have thought you figured out before.

    In agreeance with Dr. Duckworth, I believe the relationship between grit and a growth mindset is that building a growth mindset could produce grit. To compare the two is like comparing a seed to a fully-grown plant. Of course, they are different but they are a part of the same cycle.

    I feel this way due to personal experience. For example, although it is only week two I try my absolute best to apply everything that I have learned in this class to some part of my life. Keeping my mind open for possibility really shows in my grades in comparison to the last time I attended an online class. Seeing how well I’ve been doing only makes me want to keep pushing forward even on days that I am the least motivated.

    Works Cited

    1. Duckworth, Angela Lee. “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Apr. 2013,
    2. (Dweck, Carol) StanfordAlumni. “Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck.” YouTube, YouTube, 9 Oct. 2014,

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