All you need is some true grit.
A new study of more than 11,000 West Point cadets over 10 years found that “grit” was the most important trait for success — beating out brains and brawn.
Researchers — who defined “grit” as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals of personal significance” — said cadets who displayed that special quality were more successful during the challenging four-year military academy that begins with “Beast Barracks,” a notoriously brutal six-week basic training program.
“Cognitive and physical abilities each enable progress toward goals in their respective domains,” the study said. “In contrast, grit seems to enable individuals to keep going when the going gets tough.”
The research team, led by University of Pennsylvania psychologist and author Angela Duckworth, studied 11,258 cadets as they entered the academy over the period of a decade.
Those who made it through Beast Barracks then took a 12-point test known as the “grit scale” to evaluate their capacity for perseverance.
Three percent of new cadets quit the academy in the first summer.
While strength and brain power all contributed to helping the 81 percent of West Point cadets who ultimately graduated from the school, the study found that “grit” proved to be the most significant factor.
“The experience and experience you have as a child — in school and in your formative years — are instrumental in developing this ‘never say die never quit’ attitude,” Michael Matthews, who co-authored the study, told the science and technology news website Inverse.
“Challenges have a way of finding us,” Matthews said. “West Point becomes a kind of laboratory of learning how individuals come to succeed under trying circumstances.”
In similar 2007 study, Duckworth led a team of researchers who studied military cadets, Ivy League grads and even Scripps National Spelling Bee finalists and determined those with the strongest fighting spirits tended to fare better.
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