Foliotek Blog

GRIT and Intelligence

Why is it that some of the smartest people don’t succeed in finishing college? This is a question that has been a subject of research conducted by Dr. Angela Duckworth. She suggests that when it comes to achievement that one’s grit may in fact be more important than intelligence. In one of her studies, she found that the smarter students actually had less grit than their peers who had lower scores on an intelligence test.


What are the characteristics that are most important in measuring one’s grit? According to Margaret M. Perlis’ article in Forbes online magazine, they are as follows: courage, conscientiousness, long term goals and endurance, resilience, and excellence. Other terms like tenacity and determination have also been used to describe essential elements of grit. The basic idea isn’t complicated, those who work harder are more successful in completing College and going on to successful careers.

As all parents do, I want my children to be successful. So this “Grit Concept” is very important to me. How can parents teach their children to have grit? As a teacher, I learned that students grasped concepts through various modes of learning. Thus, I suggest we teach our children to have grit by employing several strategies.


First, leading by example is a great place to start. Demonstrating determination and hard work to achieve one’s goals is the idea. Parents can do this by engaging their children in projects around the house, volunteer work, and professional endeavors.


Second, involving kids in the process of setting goals and planning action engages them in developing grit. When they work with their parents to set goals and work hard to achieve them, children are more likely to emulate this quality on their own. Another approach is to make hard work, perseverance, and resilience a regular topic of conversation. Some learn by seeing, some learn by hearing, most everyone can learn something by doing. Trying a variety of approaches and having the tenacity to stick to it will help to achieve the desired results.

Of course, encouraging children to take their studies seriously is a big part of instilling the right values. Asking them about their homework and helping them grasp concepts aids students in knowing what is expected. Encouraging them to explore academia to find their passions helps them take ownership of their own learning. With a lot of hard work, goal setting, and determination, I hope my sons will both pick the right field of study. I also expect that they will complete college and go onto productive careers in their chosen fields. They understand these expectations which is an important first step toward success.

To learn more about grit, check out Angela's TED talk below.

For additional information on GRIT: More Information on GRIT