Is that grit?

Posted by Stephen on Mar 3, 2016

“If you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.”

Try, try, and try again.”

I remember hearing these sayings when I was young and it seems to be that these and many like these are no longer ingrained in day to day life. In both the video and the article perseverance and overcoming adversity are the principle themes. I do wonder if these ideals that previous generations have come up with are being lost to the generation who wants everything and expects it now.


Is this idea of Growth Mindset really just harking back to the days when people believed in themselves and understood that “Good things come to those who wait”?


My worries are that this isnt a skill that should be taught in the classroom. It needs to be wholeheartedly adopted by everyone in society. If we as teachers devote time and effort in to embracing the ideals behind ” grit” it will do nothing for students if they go home and are discouraged.

I was fortunate enough to attend a school where we were allowed to go in to the outdoors and explore by ourselves, do activities such as rock climbing, absailing, hiking, camping and many others. This was not only encouraged but actually a requirement of attending the school. I believe that by doing such activities we are shown that the boundaries are only where we set them. Should we therefore be encouraging or even obliging young people to push themselves and put them in to challenging situations?


Perhaps the growth mindset can be taught, yet I believe grit is gained by experience, to know that you can overcome adversity you have to do it. By doing it in more controlled situations then in situations where the world feels like it is spinning out of control people will have the self confidence and belief to actually attempt to overcome the situation.


To me this isn’t a question about schools, this is a question about the vast majority of the populations refusal to be accountable.




  1. Dom
    6 March 2016

    Steve, I get your point. I agree with you that grit is gained by experience and I think you have been quite lucky because you were encouraged to engage in great extracurricular activities that build up resilience. I would have loved to be in the same situation.
    I would just argue that, the days when people believed in themselves are not gone, I guess we only want more students to believe in themselves.

  2. marcus
    6 March 2016

    I really enjoyed reading your think-piece, Stephen. I like the way you have talked about the bigger picture, rather than just focusing on the idea of ‘grit’ within schools. Its an interesting point you make when you say that the approach needs to be adopted by the whole of the society… and its one that I think we won’t be able to overcome easily. I wonder if society has always been the same though? Perhaps its only come to light whilst we search further for an answer?

  3. Emma
    7 March 2016

    I found your think-piece thought-provoking… I agree that students are no longer encouraged to keep trying. I think that students now have a couple of tries and if they don’t succeed they just give up. I am intrigued by the idea of outdoor activities improving student’s sense of their own potential and I know that some schools try to get students involved in these types of things however I wonder how you could implement this on a larger scale. Furthermore, do you think there are other ways we could boost student’s willingness to strive to be better?

  4. pepsmccrea
    7 March 2016

    Thought-provoking indeed. Great to see you come at this with such perspective. I’m really interested in the idea of putting people in challenging circumstances – have you heard of ‘Antifragile’ by Taleb? If not, you should check it out.

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