Personal Grit as Key to Success

Passion, perseverance, and stamina outweigh IQ as a predictor of success.

TED Talks Education congratulates Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, who was named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow on September 25, 2013, for “transforming our understanding of the roles that grit and self-control play in educational achievement.” Learn more about the 2013 MacArthur Fellows.


What’s the best predictor of success in a person’s life, including when it comes to goals in education? “Grit,” says psychologist Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth.

What is grit? Find out in her TED Talk, in which Duckworth explains that grit is a better indicator of personal  success than IQ, family income and other factors. Take the grit test yourself.

Angela Lee Duckworth speaking at TED Talks Education
Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth
Speaker, TED Talks Education

Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Angela studies non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit, that predict success both academically and professionally. Her research populations have included West Point cadets, National Spelling Bee finalists, novice teachers, salespeople, and students. Angela received a BA in Neurobiology from Harvard in 1992 and, as a Marshall Scholar, a Masters in Neuroscience from Oxford. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her career in research, Angela founded a non-profit summer school for low-income children which won the Better Government Award for the state of Massachusetts and was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study. Angela has also been a McKinsey management consultant and, for five years, a math teacher in the public schools of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York City.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandra.b.rodriguez.50 Sandra Brygart Rodriguez

    Thoroughly resonated with Dr. Duckworth’s Talk. I hope it be available on TED!

    • Christina Knight

      Dr. Duckworth’s TED Talks Education talk on Grit will be available online here Friday, May 10 by noon.

  • http://twitter.com/JenniferVigne Jennifer Vigne

    Wow. You hit the nail on the head and I look forward to learning more from you.

  • http://tiny.cc/ewcollins Eliot W. Collins

    It’s not just that some students drop out, but rather that many of those who do graduate have not prepared THEMSELVES for the rigors of college. They may have taken the “correct” classes and may have high SAT’s, but they still are not prepared to succeed in college, or in much of anything else. Even if they graduate college, they may have difficulty finding employment that pays them enough to pay off their student loans.

  • http://twitter.com/artjasso Art Jasso

    If you like Duckworth’s GRIT premise then read “How children Succeed” by Paul Tough. Great perspective.
    http://www.paultough.com/the-books/how-children-succeed/

  • Kirk Earl

    One of my favorite TED Talks. Angela inspired me to write this short article on how a Barbie doll helped me teach my daughter a lesson on grit: http://therecreationalist.com/how-barbie-taught-my-daughter-grit/

  • Rob Waldrup

    I took the grit test and I’m pretty gritty.

PBS WNET New York Public Media CPB Corporation for Public Broadcasting TED American Graduate