True Grit

I am not a John Wayne fan and I have never seen the movie True Grit.  But I have been interested in the field of Positive Psychology for a number of years.  Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being is one of those books by my bed that I will read someday.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of books like that.  Positive thinking has helped me in my recovery from depression but I feel that it has limitations, at least for me.  It is hard for me to undo so many years of negativity with positive affirmations and the like.

But there is a part of positive psychology that I find fascinating and that would be grit.  Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth is doing significant research on the subject, had done a TED-talk, and has written a book entitled Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  So what is grit? Grit is “the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals”.

Dr. Duckworth utilized grit scores to predict final rankings in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, perseverance at West Point Military Academy, and graduation from Chicago public schools. Her findings indicate that character is more important than IQ as a predictor of success.

This is something that I can grab on to and run with.  I don’t have to be a positive thinker.  I just have to keep trying when I fail, get up when I get knocked down, and stay focused on long-term goals.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  The secret to success is grit. And grit I got. And Dr. Duckworth’s book will be the next one added to my pile of books to read.


About the Author

Daniel J. Tomasulo PhD., MFA, MAPP

Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D., TEP, MFA, is an associate professor at New Jersey City University, as well as an assistant instructor at the University of Pennsylvania MAPP program.

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