Daily Quote and Reflection: What does research tell us about “true grit, learning and efforting when trying to reach your goals?


Daily quote: “No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

Let’s start with the definition of “grit” when comes to learning how to learn.  In an article on the meaning of grit researchers http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/images/Grit%20JPSP.pdf say grit in  “the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007, p.1087).


Eduardo Briceno, CEO Mindset Works  provides us with clear insights on this topic when he says  ” Often, students and adults don’t recognize the difference between effort ( doing the same thing,over and over again expecting different results) and effective effort. If we say “try harder”, “study more”, or “stick with it”, students may think that they need to sit in front of their assignment for more time, continuing to do the same thing that hasn’t worked for them in the past, rather than finding a more effective strategy to achieve their goal, such as trying to solve a simpler problem in as many ways as possible, breaking down the task into smaller pieces, drawing a picture and showing it to someone for feedback, drilling down on mistakes to understand them, setting specific learning goals at the appropriate level of challenge, and asking for help, among many others. We need to teach effective learning strategies, and to encourage students to share strategies with one another.

Effective effort involves reflecting on our approaches to work smarter, which is needed to achieve different outcomes. Teaching that to students, along with effective learning strategies and the understanding that we can change our abilities (a growth mindset), motivates them, as it gives them a path to success.

The same is true of us as educators. Sometimes we forget the need to reflect on our overall approaches. If what we have done in our classrooms hasn’t worked in the past, do we have the grit to stick with our goal of reaching all students? Will we put in the effort to reflect on our approaches, and learn about and try different strategies, until we find a way to achieve our big, hairy, audacious goal”?


If we are aware of the distinction between effort and effective effort, and ensure students are too, we can all work together on building our self-management and learning competencies to maximize our progress. Students then come to understand that we’re not asking them to pound their head against a wall, but to learn more effective ways to learn, with a growth mindset, and that we’re here to support them and to improve with them along the way. That motivates them, and it empowers them with the learning competencies needed to thrive in school and in life.


Nothing is more important in life  than to learn how to be an effective  learner. Period.

Self-coaching Challenge–What are you doing to become a life-long learner?  

One thought on “Daily Quote and Reflection: What does research tell us about “true grit, learning and efforting when trying to reach your goals?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s