Grit Endnotes

About these endnotes

This is where we provide references and in-depth information about everything in the Grit playbook.


We honor and thank the scientists whose research inspired this Playbook. In particular, we thank Anders Ericsson for working with our designers and educators to bring Expert Practice to classrooms everywhere. We are likewise indebted to Brady Jones, Mesmin Destin, and Dan McAdams for encouraging our adaptation of their work, which resulted in the Two Stories activity. Finally, we thank Geoff Cohen for sharing his research on self-affirmation and the My Values activity. Any errors or omissions are ours.

Passion and perseverance for long-term goals

See Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly (2007).

Ever tried. Ever failed.

See Beckett, 1995, p.89.

Do what you love

See Ferris, 2017, p.197. Josh Waitzkin has achieved world-class levels of skill in both chess and martial arts.

The result of natural talent

There is a tendency to favor naturals over strivers (Tsay, 2015). For example, people rate the same work as higher-quality and its creators as more likely to succeed if they’re described as “naturals” as opposed to “strivers.” Upon scrutiny, many feats attributed to natural talent are actually the result of systematic practice (Ericsson & Faivre, 1988).

Accomplishing challenging goals of personal significance

Grit predicts final ranking in the Scripps National Spelling Bee (Duckworth et al., 2007), completion of Green Beret training, and job retention among sales representatives (Eskreis-Winkler et al., 2014) as well as teachers (Robertson-Kraft & Duckworth, 2014). For a systematic review, see Eskreis-Winkler, Gross, and Duckworth (2016).

grittier students are more likely to graduate

See Eskreis-Winkler, Duckworth, Shulman, and Beal (2014). Note that grit is not the only factor, or even the most important factor, in determining graduation from high school or college.

grittier cadets are more likely to complete

Grit Scale scores from the second day of training at the United States Military Academy, West Point predict completion of the first summer of training, nicknamed “Beast Barracks” (Duckworth et al., 2007) as well as graduation rates four years later (Kelly, Matthew, & Bartone, 2014). Likewise, grittier Green Berets are also more likely to complete their training (Eskreis-Winkler, Duckworth, Shulman, and Beal (2014).

grit and measures of talent and IQ are unrelated

See Duckworth et al. (2007).

Pulse Check

These items are adapted from the Short Grit Scale (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). You can find longer, validated scales on this page: (Duckworth et al., 2007; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009).

My Values

See Cohen and Sherman (2014) for a review of research on affirming one’s values. The benefits of this brief activity are remarkable, particularly for individuals whose identity and self-worth are challenged by features of their situation.

Two Stories

See Jones, Destin, and McAdams (2018). It is well-established that accounts of past life events are an important part of our identity (McAdams & Pals, 2006). This study suggests that shifting the way we think about important life events can also influence our motivation and behavior in the present and future as well.

Expert Practice

See Ericsson and Pool (2016) for an accessible summary of several decades of research on how human expertise develops.

If only I can be myself…

See Anne Frank, 1991, p.214. Anne Frank was a young Jewish victim of the Holocaust.


Beckett, S. (1995). Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho: Three Novels. New York: Grove Press.

Carroll, P. (2010). Win forever: Live, work and play like a champion. New York: Penguin.

Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1999). Themes and issues in the self-regulation of behavior. In R.S. Wyer (Ed.), Perspectives on Behavioral Self-Regulation: Advances in Social Cognition, 12(1), 1.

Cohen,  G. L., &  Sherman, D.  K. (2014). The  psychology of change:  Self-affirmation and social  psychological intervention. Annual  Review of Psychology, 65,  333-371.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York: Scribner.

Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101.

Duckworth, A. L. & Quinn, P. D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (Grit-S). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), 166-174.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House

Ericsson, K. A., & Faivre, I. A. (1988). What’s exceptional about exceptional abilities? In L. K. Obler & D. Fein (Eds.), The exceptional brain: Neuropsychology of talent and special abilities (pp. 436-473). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

Ericsson, K. A., Krampe, R. T., & Tesch-Römer, C. (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 100(3), 363-406.

Ericsson, A., & Pool, R. (2016). Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise. New York: Houghton

Eskreis-Winkler, L., Duckworth, A. L., Shulman, E., & Beal, S. (2014). The grit effect: Predicting retention in the military, the workplace, school and marriage. Frontiers in Psychology: Personality Science and Individual Differences, 5(36), 1-12.

Eskreis-Winkler, L., Gross, J. J., & Duckworth, A. L. (2016). Grit: Sustained self-regulation in the service of superordinate goals. In K. D. Vohs & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory and applications (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.

Ferriss, T. (2017). Tribe of mentors: Short life advice from the best in the world. New York: Houghton.

Frank, A. (1991). The diary of a young girl. The definitive edition (S. Massotty, Trans.).Frank, O. & Pressler, M. (Eds.). New York: Random House.

Jones, B. K., Destin, M., & McAdams, D. P. (2018). Telling better stories: Competence-building  narrative themes increase adolescent persistence and academic achievement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 76, 76-80.

Kelly, D. R., Matthews, M. D., & Bartone, P. T. (2014). Grit and hardiness as predictors of performance among West Point cadets. Military Psychology, 26(4), 327-342.

Kruglanski, A. W., Shah, J. Y., Fishbach, A., Friedman, R., Chun, W. Y., & Sleeth-Keppler, D. (2002). A theory of goal systems. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 34  pp. 331-378). Academic Press.

McAdams, D. P. (2001). The psychology of life stories. Review of General Psychology, 5(2), 100-122.

McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2006). A new big five: Fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality. American Psychologist, 204–217.

Robertson-Kraft, C., & Duckworth, A. L. (2014). True grit: Trait-level perseverance and passion for long-term goals predicts effectiveness and retention among novice teachers. Teachers College Record, 116(030302), 1-27.

Tsay, C. J. (2015). Privileging naturals over strivers: The costs of the naturalness bias. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(1), 40-53.