This “Sight Line” is provided as a supplement to Chapter 5 of 20/20 Mind Sight, “Singing In The Lifeboats” – Grit Your Teeth. For maximum benefit, please read the chapter before completing the exercise.


20/20 Sight Line – The “Grit Scale”

In a November 2013 interview on NPR’s “TED Radio Hour,” Angela Duckworth defined grit as “the disposition to pursue very long-term goals with passion and perseverance.” Duckworth is a Harvard- and Oxford-educated professor at the University of Pennsylvania who received a MacArthur Genius Grant for her work on the psychological origins and implications of grit. Professor Duckworth has studied West Point cadets, first-year teachers in tough inner-city neighborhoods, and corporate salespeople to determine which individuals were most likely to stick it out through the hard times and achieve success in their given field. Through her research, Duckworth has identified grit as significantly more important in predicting success than traditional measures like IQ, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills.

One of Duckworth’s findings is that grit (aka irrepressibility) can be learned and developed via practice and self-awareness. Professor Duckworth and UPenn offer several free online assessments of your grittiness. You can begin with the “12-Item Grit Scale” here:


As you work on ascending to the peak levels of irrepressibility, keep in mind Winston Churchill’s definition of true success and personal fulfillment: the “ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

Angela Duckworth with Jillian Vorce

Angela Duckworth and Jillian Vorce
holding each others’ books.