Posted by: gcarkner | February 3, 2017

Angela Duckworth: Psychology of Grit


See also Character Quest button on this Blog.

Angela Lee Duckworth (born 1970) is an American psychologist and popular science author. She won a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship. She is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s also the Founder and Scientific Director of an educational nonprofit called Character Lab. Her lab studies grit and self-control. What builds resilience into our lives and careers? This is a young genius who has done her homework.

Duckworth earned an A.B. in neurobiology at Harvard College in 1992. She then graduated at the University of Oxford in 1996 with an M.Sc. in neuroscience on a Marshall Scholarship, and at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Ph.D. in psychology. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, was released in May 2016. A review of this book in the New York Times called Duckworth “the psychologist who has made ‘grit’ the reigning buzzword in education-policy circles.”

See also Brené Brown, Rising Strong: the reckoning, the rumble, the revolution. Speigel & Grau, 2015. The most transformative and resilient leaders Brown has met have the following characteristics:

a. Recognize the central role that relationships and story play in culture and strategy.

b. Stay curious about their own emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

c. Understand and stay curious about how emotions, thoughts and behaviour are connected in the people they lead and how those factors affect relationships and perceptions.

d. Have the ability to lean into discomfort and vulnerability.

e. Identify the things that kill trust and creativity in order to nurture cultures and conditions that allow good people to do what they do best.

f. Leaders with resilience live BIG: revealing a commitment to setting boundaries, standing in their integrity and expressing  continued generosity. They refuse to give in to self-righteousness, ego, self-protection, anger, blame or avoidance. Living in their integrity means choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun or easy, choosing to practice their values rather than just profess them. Such leaders extend generous interpretations to the intentions, words and actions of others (giving them the benefit of the doubt).

Why do we love the TV program Grey’s Anatomy? Specifically, we think, because Shonda Rhimes pays attention to all these elements as she shows the complexity of training young surgeons.

Words to the Wise in our Uncertain Times

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth.

You are the light of the world.


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