Angela Duckworth's work is part of a growing area of psychology research focused on what are loosely called "noncognitive skills." The goal is to identify and measure the various skills and traits other than intelligence that contribute to human development and success. Angela Duckworth has developed a test called the "Grit Scale." You rate yourself on a series of 8 to 12 items. Two examples: "I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge" and "Setbacks don't discourage me." It's entirely self-reported, so you could game the test, and yet what Duckworth has found is that a person's grit score is highly predictive of achievement under challenging circumstances. At the elite United States Military Academy, West Point, a cadet's grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as "Beast Barracks." Grit mattered more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness.At the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the grittiest contestants were the most likely to advance to the finals -- at least in part because they studied longer, not because they were smarter or were better spellers.
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