g.r.i.t.

from the NYTimes article ” What if the Secret to Success is Failure?

grit:

noun, verb, grit·ted, grit·ting.

firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck:
She has a reputation for grit and common sense.

“This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”… The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character— those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that.”…

People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”…

As Levin watched the progress of those KIPP alumni, he noticed something curious: the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. – Dominic Randolph, Headmaster, Riverdale Country School

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