As Angela Duckworth set out to develop a way to measure grit, she struggled with how she could measure something so intangible. "Something that decades of military psychologists hadn't been able to quantify? Something those very successful people I'd interviewed said they could recognize on sight, but couldn't think of how to directly test for?"
She said, "I sat down and looked over my interview notes. And I started writing questions that captured, sometimes verbatim, descriptions of what it means to have grit. Half of the questions were about perseverance. They asked how much you agree with statements like 'I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge' and ' I finish whatever I begin.' The other half of the questions were about passion. They asked whether your 'interests change from year to year' and the extent to which you 'have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest.'
What emerged was the Grit Scale--a test that, when taken honestly, measures the extent to which you approach life with grit."
In 2004, the new cadets at West Point took the Grit Scale. Angela compared the grit scores with the Whole Candidate Score. There was no correlation between the two. The talent of each cadet had nothing to do with their grit. Most people think that it is the talent that makes a person endure, but as Angela explains in her book, "talent is no guarantee of grit."
"By the last day of Beast, 71 cadets had dropped out. Grit turned out to be an astoundingly reliable predictor of who made it through and who did not."
The next year, Angela returned to West Point to conduct the same study. In 2005, sixty-two cadets dropped out and the grit scale predicted who would stay again.
"So what matters for making it through Beast? Not your SAT scores, not your high school rank, not your leadership experience, not your athletic ability.
Not your Whole Candidate Score.
What matters is grit." (Duckworth, 2016, p. 8-10)
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