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May 11, 2024 • 9 min read

Why Persistence Trumps Talent in the Workplace

Learn how determination and resilience can lead to long-term achievements and professional growth.

Written by: Stephen Zeng

Ever wondered why some succeed in the workplace while others struggle?

Angela Lee Duckworth, a former high-flying consultant turned seventh-grade math teacher, stumbled upon a fascinating revelation during her teaching days in New York City. Duckworth realised that the top students weren’t always the most intellectually smart in terms of IQ, and some of the brightest students didn’t perform well. This made Duckworth ponder: what’s the missing link?

The Psychological Insights Behind Success

Duckworth’s teaching background revealed a vital truth: success wasn’t solely linked to IQ. Curious about broader success factors, she shifted to psychology, exploring various settings from military training to tough neighborhoods. Her quest revealed grit as a crucial predictor in academics, teaching, and workplaces – going beyond IQ or emotional intelligence.

The Power of A “Growth” Mindset

In her research on Chicago high schoolers, Duckworth found that grittier students were likelier to graduate. Talent doesn’t guarantee grit; a “growth mindset”, as suggested by Stanford’s Carol Dweck, fosters perseverance. This mindset sees learning as evolving with effort. Dr. Dweck’s research reveals that when children grasp that their brains grow through challenges, they persist through failure, viewing it as temporary.

Fostering Grit in the Workplace

“Grit sees life as a marathon, valuing endurance over short bursts of effort. It’s that unstoppable spirit driving you forward, step by step, no matter what hurdles come your way.”

The shocking truth? We know surprisingly little about how to cultivate grit. Talent doesn’t automatically translate to grit. However, the concept of a “growth mindset”, emphasising the belief in learning’s malleability, shows promise. But the journey doesn’t end there. The challenge now is to refine ideas, test them rigorously, learn from failures, and persistently work on fostering grit in workplace settings.

What are your thoughts on Duckworth’s idea of grit in the workplace? How can we foster a grittier mindset? Let’s discuss and uncover the power of determination in the workplace!


#inspiration #success #worksuccess #growthmindset #determination #personalgrowth #careeradvice #careersuccess #research #ausrehab 

*The details in this article were correct and current when it was written. However, changes in business practices, policies, and other pertinent areas may have occurred since then. Readers should confirm the current validity of the content on their own.

Stephen Zeng
Stephen is the director and the principal writer at AusRehab, leading workplace rehabilitation provider, with a focus on addressing and resolving workplace injuries.

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