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The Power of Passion and Perseverance


Dr. Angela Duckworth




Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.


When I was 27 years old, I left a very demanding job in management consulting, for a job that was even more demanding teaching. I went to teach seventh graders math in the NewYork City public schools. And like any teacher, I made quizzes and tests, I gave out homework assignments. When the work came back, I calculated grades. What struck me was that IQ was not the only difference between my best and my worst students. Some of my strongest performers did not have stratospheric IQ scores.

Some of my smartest kids aren't doing so well. And that got me thinking kinds of things you need to learn in seventh grade math. Sure, they're hard ratios decimals, the area of a parallelogram, but these concepts are not impossible. And I was firmly convinced that every one of my students could learn the material if they worked hard and long enough.

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