In her late twenties, Angela Duckworth left her demanding position as a management consultant to teach math to seventh graders. After several years teaching, she’d observed that effort was tremendously important to success. To begin to solve the mystery of why some people work so much harder and longer than others, Angela entered the PhD program in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now a professor.
If you read last week’s #MCM post on Stephen Dubner’s Freakonomics, hopefully you also listened to this episode of Freakonomics with Angela Duckworth where she talks about her book “Grit”. “Grit” explores the secret of success, explaining why talent is not necessarily a guarantor of success. It’s an excellent reminder that essentially all people are “normal” and that “normal” people do extraordinary things, if they try.
One of my favorite moments that reminded me of this, was during a recent NatGeo Live! Lecture from astronaut Terry Virts, where he said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “People always ask me when ‘normal’ people can go in to space! … am I not a ‘normal’ person?” Angela Duckworth has continued since “Grit” to work on extensive research that explores how people can change habits and develop grit. Imagine what a different world we’d live in if we had clarity on how we could simply be different.
Check out Character Lab, where Duckworth is CEO, Character Lab creates evidence-based resources for teachers to develop character in middle and high school students.
Watch her TED Talk below.
Also published on Medium.