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Blog #2: True grit is developed through practice, experience and failure.

February 7, 2020

When discussing the common traits among the Laureates from over the years, grit was the one that landed on top of the list. We found it interesting that this characteristic was so highly rated because what we have learned is that grit is not necessarily something you are born with. True grit is developed through practice, experience and failure.

When we reflected on the many Laureate Legacy acceptance speeches that were delivered throughout the years, we observed a common theme. Their remarks were filled with insightful and powerful words of advice as they purposefully turned their attention to the student ambassadors in the room. 

The Laureates shared how learning from mistakes and failures led them to follow a path with purpose. They encouraged the youth to follow their passion; to stay positive and be persistent; to accept failure and learn from those experiences; and, to realize that those experiences will only make them stronger. The reason these ultimate role models could share this compelling advice is because they all have grit.

Someone who certainly knows a lot about grit is a psychologist Angela Duckworth, and she believes that grit is a special blend of persistence and passion. She spent many years studying people, trying to understand what it is that makes high achievers so successful.  What she found surprised even her. What was the best indicator? It wasn’t SAT scores. It wasn’t IQ test results. It wasn’t even a degree from a top-ranking business school.  “It was a combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special,” Duckworth said. “In one word, they had grit.”

There’s not been a year in the past 17 years where I personally didn’t feel awe-inspired by our Laureate Legacies who all have demonstrated that very special blend of persistence and passion that Duckworth speaks of. While they didn’t necessarily say it, their career pathway’s stories were unequivocally about grit.

So, yes, grit is the #1 most common trait of our 63 Laureate Legacies, but there are many more common traits to be shared with you.

Tune in for the next blog to see what other leadership qualities and traits our Legacies share. And please join us at the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame on April 23rd as we celebrate these Legacies and JA’s Centennial. Our JA Student Ambassadors will continue to be front and center on stage as they lead one of our most highly anticipated programs yet to be.

Check out Duckworth’s TEDTalk here, it’s awesome:

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