Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Nitty Gritty Secret of Success

Bracha Stein

Researchers have discovered the secret of success, and it doesn’t lie in intelligence, social savvy, or personality. Which character traits have been proven integral to achievement — and how can we help our children hone these qualities?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Angela Lee Duckworth, a seventh-grade math teacher, was flummoxed by the academic performance of her students. Some of her brightest pupils seemed to barely coast by, while she had other students who earned grades that far outshone their IQ scores. Despite tests that seemed to attest to the contrary, she remained convinced that each of her students was capable of grasping the material. So why did some kids flourish while others floundered?

Duckworth decided that educators needed a better grasp of how — and why — kids learn. Positing that “character is at least as important as intellect,” Duckworth embarked on a journey to find out precisely which character traits played a role in success. There was surely one quality found in high achievers across the board. But what was it?

Until fairly recently, psychologists had assumed that IQ played the largest role in achieving success. Other theories speculated that perhaps it was social or emotional intelligence, or charisma, confidence, or sheer talent. But as her research led her from public-school classrooms to the highly competitiveUnited StatesMilitaryAcademyatWest Pointto the National Spelling Bee, Duckworth suggested that the key to success lay in a completely unexplored quality. She called it grit.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”