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MacArthur ‘genius’ Angela Duckworth on the importance of grit

The MacArthur Fellows were announced Wednesday, and among the astrophysicists, choreographers and paleobotanists awarded the unrestricted $625,000 so-called "genius grant" was one research psychologist whose work should be of great interest to leaders.

Angela Duckworth, a former McKinsey management consultant, high-school math teacher and current University of Pennsylvania researcher, studies the psychology of achievement. And though she primarily focuses on education, her research on the role of grit and self-control tells us a lot about how persistence may matter more than raw talent in many fields.

In studies of subjects ranging from West Point cadets to salespeople to National Spelling Bee participants, she found that grit predicts success over and above standardized test scores or cognitive intelligence tests.

Take a look at a great summary of her work from a TED talk she gave for a PBS special earlier this year:

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

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