In Jerry Useem’s “Is Grit Overrated?
As you begin striving toward your professional goals and future careers, you may notice the term “grit” popping up in more and more motivational speeches, college applications, and job descriptions. Merriam-Webster defines “grit” as “a small hard sharp particle (as of sand)” or “firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage.” It is this second definition which has given “grit” new life, becoming a watchword for businesses and colleges across the nation, emblazoned across highway billboards and university marquees.
In Jerry Useem’s “Is Grit Overrated?Links to an external site.,” the author explores this latest branding of self-determination by speaking with Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor and author of Grit. Read Useem’s article, which both explores and critiques Duckworth’s concept of “grit,” and respond to the questions below.
One of Duckworth’s most revelatory discoveries is how truly successful people deal with feelings like “frustration, disappointment, [and] boredom.” What does Duckworth argue that people with “grit” do with these emotions that separates them from their less-successful counterparts?
While Duckworth continues to emphasize the importance of “grit” for achieving one’s goals, how does the article’s author prove to us that many businesses and clients actually do not prefer “grit”? Provide particular examples from the article to reinforce your points.
What does Jerry Useem argue are the drawbacks of making our challenges more visible? What does the author of the article state, though, is beneficial to being more open about our difficulties? Do you, personally, feel that being transparent about the struggles of success is good or bad? Why?
Useem also critiques Duckworth’s focus on “directional consistency.” What specifically does “directional consistency” mean, and why does the author believe that this might hinder someone’s success? Can you think of another reason why “directional consistency” might be more damaging to success than helpful? Explain yourself fully, using specific examples and details.
In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth defines directional consistency as “the ability to stick unswervingly to a long-term goal.” She argues that this is one of the key ingredients of success.
Jerry Useem, in his article “Is Grit Overrated?”, critiques Duckworth’s focus on directional consistency. He argues that it can be harmful because it can lead people to become too focused on their goals and to ignore other important things in their lives. He also argues that it can lead people to become too rigid and inflexible, which can make it difficult for them to adapt to change.