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Edited by Megan Cambruzzi

March 8 is International Women’s Day. A day dedicated to all women across the globe for their courage, strength, and intelligence. While each day should be a celebration of women, International Women’s Day is special in that we are invited to celebrate globally with others. Women carry a great deal of potential to succeed and create their own opportunities on their road to success. However, as we are still fighting for equal pay and rights, it is important to remind younger generations of their potential. 

To understand one’s potential and identify the way in which one can achieve their goals, one must contain grit. A word that has been the focus of psychologist Angela Duckworth’s research for the past few years. Duckworth developed the concept that success was not solely determined by talent but also passion, perseverance, and stamina. With a goal of “using psychological science to help children thrive” Duckworth dove into the research to develop her book, Grit. 

Ever since Duckworth was a child, her father has been obsessed with success. He would continuously bring up the world’s highest achievers and comment on their great intellect and talent. This ultimately drove Duckworth to understand what truly made individuals like Albert Einstein or Michael Phelps so successful.  Duckworth does note that there are select people like Einstein and Phelps who were born with talent along with grit, and they are brilliant individuals. However, Grit tells us that success is not something we are necessarily born with, but something many of us can achieve. 

So often when we watch award shows like the Oscars, attend a concert for a famous artist, or celebrate an Olympian for our country, it is hard to refrain from marveling at the talent that many of these individuals seem to hold. These people almost seem magical, like their success could never be achieved by you or me. What many of us don’t see is the immense work and effort and grit that is put in behind the scenes which has led to this success. Success is a combination of daily mundane tasks done for a long period of time and unfortunately, that does not spark as much excitement as an awards ceremony or the peak moment of one’s career. For Duckworth, effort counts twice in her formula for achievement.

talent x effort = skill  

skill x effort = achievement 

Duckworth writes, “talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort”. In other words, you may have to work harder to achieve your goals, however this does not make them impossible. Further, do not be fooled by one’s success or talent. Success is not effortless, and talent does not always equal success. 

There is much more to say about grit, and how to grow it and develop it. If you would like to learn more I suggest reading Duckworth’s book Grit, or watching her TED Talk. 

Resources

Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance, By Angela Duckworth

TED talk:

Laura Sweet

U Toronto '22

Laura is a third-year Bioethics student at the University of Toronto St. George. She is interested in law and hopes to one day pursue a career in this field. Laura enjoys skiing, playing the piano, reading and spending time on the East Coast.
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