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Grit - is it distinct from correlates of success?

Grit - is it distinct from correlates of success?



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There's been quite a splash in the field of psychology around the concept of grit introduced around 2007 (Wikipedia article). For example, the associated TED talk has been viewed more than 10 million times.

Intuitively, the ideas make a lot of sense based on my own experience. While, based on the 1500+ citations in Google Scholar, it's a new idea in the field of psychology too, not just a phenomenon in the realm of public understanding of science.

However, what I don't quite understand is which one of the following two things this development represents:

  1. Either a new shorthand word ("grit") has been introduced for "correlates of success",

  2. Or, grit is distinct from correlates of success, and represents a new, standalone, awareness.

Having a new word for an old thing can actually be quite important, as it gives a sort of a visual mnemonic to summarise the major components of the correlates of success. (If someone is "gritty", that says more to non-psychologists than saying that the person "demonstrates traits correlated with success".)

However, it would be even more important if this wasn't just a linguistic advance, but a conceptual one. But for that, it would be necessary to show that grit is a concept distinct to correlates of success. Well, at least it should be possible in principle to conduct a falsifiable experiment to study the distinction. For example, if under certain circumstances grit could in principle be shown to be significantly negatively correlated with success, consistently, whenever such circumstances arise, that would establish it as a distinct concept.

So, what would be a scenario, under which, hypothetically, grit would be anticorrelated with success? (I can't think of any: in my understanding, whatever is not correlated with success cannot be called "grit". Is this the accepted understanding of grit?)


Watch the video: GRIT: Traits that Matter for School, Work, and Life (August 2022).