Research Psychologist Angela Duckworth, 2013 MacArthur Fellow | MacArthur Foundation

Research Psychologist Angela Duckworth, 2013 MacArthur Fellow | MacArthur Foundation

Research Psychologist Angela Duckworth was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2013. The Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more. Learn more at


September 25, 2013 / 6 Comments / by / in
  • I have two daughters. The oldest has the higher IQ and accidemics came easy. The other had to be put back a grade and took some special ed classes. Which one graduated from Oklahoma University with honors? The one that had grit.

  • Admittedly these two qualities are important with respect to how much effort people put towards their pursuits. There are other qualities as well, such as a child's temperament (Chess et al), attitudes towards learning (Piaget) and styles of learning (Gardner).

    The two key challenges facing students in school are personal confidence in academic and social success.

    I will never forget the day I started to fall behind in Grade 7 math class ( ! ) and almost simultaneously so too did my friendships begin to falter. It was my dismal performance in maths that contributed to my eventual dropping out of secondary school.

    However, I later went on to earn three university degrees and a number of other post-graduate diplomas, certificates, citations and honors.

    How did this happen, especially after my lacklustre maths performance and dropping out of school? Back in the '60s a dropout male student usually ended up in a trade, and a female dropout student headed towards clerical work.

    My answer, confirmed after 32 years' work as a child psychotherapist and, based upon personal experience, is Love.

    Thus, while I did develop my own grit and self control to 'take on' the heady world of the ivory tower, at root was the unflinching love and support from my parents. Without that I would not have even dreamed of going on to university, let alone to three of them.

    To be sure, the psychology of achievement is important, and it is also complex.

    We must also keep in mind the importance played – in this matter – by a parent's love and belief in their child.

  • I think Angela Duckworth is genius. Every single thing she said resonates with me and my personal experience. I would love to see if grit also can be proven to be related with self confidence. There are so many different path this study can take. Ge-nius. 

  • Hard work beats talent whenever talent is not willing to work hard.

  • Need more people like Dr. Duckworth in education in this country. 

  • Smart people know that time is their most valuable asset. Knowing when to say no, and not put too much time in a project/subject is at least just as important. 

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