grit: all you need to know 

RESILIENCE is the No.1 predictor of future success for our kids.

So, how do you teach kids resilience?

The answer is actually more straightforward than you’d imagine...

why are some people successful while others fail?

We all want our kids to be successful at whatever they choose to do, but most of us are unsure how to go about ensuring this success. Better schools? Diverse interests? Or do we throw some more money at it? It doesn’t quite work this way. In fact, many adults who find that success eludes them had all these and more while growing up! What then is the deciding factor?

In trying to answer this, we breakdown Angela Duckworth’s book, where she explains how and why resilience is critical for success, and we also offer practical tips on how to teach your kids resilience. 

about the book 

This is the holy grail for hacking your child’s success. If you’ve ever wondered why after ticking all the right boxes, you keep falling short of success, this book not only offers you the why, it also shares practical tips on how to raise, happy, successful children.

Duckworth's research shows that success and happiness are predicated on something other than advantages that are mostly bestowed by genetic chance. GRIT or RESILIENCE sets the high achievers apart from the rest.

Resilience transcends how well you do in school, which school you went to, where you were born, or what social class you belong to. So, no matter the circumstances RESILIENCE levels the playing field for our kids.

talent is not enough

Everyone thinks that talent is the most important factor for children’s success but it isn’t. Yes, talent is very important however, we all know outrageously talented people who never quite fulfilled their promise, whilst their less talented counterparts enjoy great success.

Resilience sets them apart.

In this book, Duckworth explains the relationship between talent and achievement in two simple equations:

TALENT x EFFORT = SKILL

SKILL x EFFORT = ACHIEVEMENT

Her research confirms what we know through our own experience: TALENT can only take you so far. Sure, it can help, because it makes the process easier but your resilience is what turns your talent to skill and skill to success.

It's EFFORT that counts twice.

cultivating grit in children

Now that we know that talent, though useful is not enough, how do we help our kids cultivate grit, especially as the process is not as simple as teaching them to ride a bike or drive a car.

Thankfully, Duckworth goes on to break this down into a 4-step process that all of the successful people she studied followed:

  1. INTEREST
  2. PRACTICE
  3. PURPOSE
  4. HOPE

We discuss each of these below and give you some practical ideas that you can use to help your kids to develop their grit. If we follow these steps carefully, our kids will know how to apply the right type and amount of effort to their dreams to ensure success. 

1. interest

We've all been here before – How do you get your little treasure interested in something?

The simplest way is to try lots of different activities, as Duckworth says ‘don’t be afraid to guess’. We second that, because on a hunch, we took our kids indoor climbing recently and they loved it.

However, if you want to avoid the legwork involved in this scattergun approach, we would recommend that you copy Jane Andraka* (link to her fantastic TedTalk 'Hijacking your child's education'). Success came when she started to look for activities for her kids to do that lay in the intersection of their interests and their talents.

So, if your kid loves computer games (interest) and has a logical mind (talent), try programming,  or game design, or robotics. If they like fashion (interest) and are good at drawing (talent) why not look at fashion design, or sewing classes.

some tips on how to make your kid's interest stick...

2. practice

All practice is good practice, right?

Wrong

Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to put the hours in, it’s how you practice that counts and it turns out that people who are really good at stuff, practice in an entirely different way than the rest of us mere mortals.

Duckworth’s research showed that the best performers in any given field had learned the art of ‘deliberate practice’ as opposed to just plain old practice.

So, do more than just practice – practice right

features of deliberate practice

3. find a purpose

Practicing right though important can get boring after a while and considering that kids generally have a short attention span, how do we get them to keep going when the excitement wanes?

We help them find a purpose.

A key attribute amongst the most successful is that at some point in their journey, what they do becomes more than just about them – they find a purpose. In her book, Duckworth explains the pathway that gritty people follow:

  • self-orientated interest
  • self-disciplined practice
  • integration with other-centered purpose

In other words, in order to make the leap from interest and practice to having the motivation to become really good at something, you have to find a goal that is bigger than just your own personal gratification.

Each person will have their own motivation, so as well as doing it for themselves, they might be doing it for their family, or their parents, friends, or country.

This is called ‘intrinsic motivation’ and there is lots of research to confirm that people who are motivated in this way, perform better in every situation, period.

So how do we activate intrinsic motivation with our kids, how do we help them to find their purpose? 

tips to help your child find their purpose

4. hope

The final part of the resilience jigsaw is hope, which Duckworth defines as 'how you can keep going tomorrow, even though today wasn’t your best.'

For us this is perhaps the most important bit.

Putting effort into something you’re both interested in and talented at is not that hard, but to keep going when things look like they’re not working for you requires a bit more than most people can offer.

This is where we come in.

Because we know that resilience is something that is best learnt through experience, we have created the RESILIENCE PACK so you can help your child learn this vital skill.