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What Can Help Children Reach Their Potential? –Answers from Researchers


The article published by Inc. is titled: “According to Science, This 1 Thing Predicts a Student’s Success More Than Any Other”

If you didn’t read the article, the answer is “Grit.” What does it mean? Angela Lee Duckworth, psychologist and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania defines grit as: “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 Duckworth’s research shows that grit is more important than anything else, including talent. Her studies indicate that we all can do anything we want to do as long as we are willing to work hard and persevere. But not everyone is born with tenacity and perseverance.

So the question is, if you or your kids don’t possess the passion to keep going when things are tough, can grit be developed? The answer is Yes! The second question is how can it be instilled and learned? Duckworth cites the research that Carol Dweck, psychologist at Stanford University has done regarding one’s attitude and beliefs about improving and learning. Dweck, calls this attitude growth mindset. Duckworth believes this is part of the answer.

I love this and similar articles that confirm and validate what psychotherapists teach their clients about the mind and the brain. It is possible to change the brain pathways because of the plasticity of the brain. It is what we do, and how consistently we do it that can make a difference.

While helping their children develop grit as defined by Duckworth, parents also need to develop patience and persistence as they teach their children to try new and difficult things. Children can learn that doing and trying is what matters, even if they fail. Children can learn valuable lessons when they develop a sense of not giving up even in difficult times. This is so beneficial especially when children experience emotional and mental challenges.

When children experience a disappointment, parents can help them recognize relevant lessons from that experience. In your every day living you can look at opportunities to teach your kids that “In our family, we don’t give up. We can learn how to do things by trying again and again.”

Take small steps towards instilling in your children the grit that Duckworth is talking about. Be patient and remember that in order to create long lasting changes in the brain, we need to be consistent in practicing what we need or wish to learn.

It is definitely a process not an event. It needs to be reinforced time and time again and become part of your family DNA and culture.

You’ll love the results in your child!



Curtin, M. (2017, August). According to Science, This 1 Thing Predicts a Student’s Success More Than Any Other, INC. Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/according-to-science-this-1-thing-predicts-a-stude.html.

Duckworth, A. L. (2013, April ). Grit the Power of Passion and Perseverance. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance.

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