Self-Control and Grit: Related but Separable Determinants of Success.

TitleSelf-Control and Grit: Related but Separable Determinants of Success.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDuckworth, A, Gross, JJ
JournalCurr Dir Psychol Sci
Date Published2014 Oct

Other than talent and opportunity, what makes some people more successful than others? One important determinant of success is self-control - the capacity to regulate attention, emotion, and behavior in the presence of temptation. A second important determinant of success is grit - the tenacious pursuit of a dominant superordinate goal despite setbacks. Self-control and grit are strongly correlated, but not perfectly so. This means that some people with high levels of self-control capably handle temptations but do not consistently pursue a dominant goal. Likewise, some exceptional achievers are prodigiously gritty but succumb to temptations in domains other than their chosen life passion. Understanding how goals are hierarchically organized clarifies how self-control and grit are related but distinct: Self-control entails aligning actions with any valued goal despite momentarily more-alluring alternatives; grit, in contrast, entails having and working assiduously toward a single challenging superordinate goal through thick and thin, on a timescale of years or even decades. Although both self-control and grit entail aligning actions with intentions, they operate in different ways and at different time scales. This hierarchical goal framework suggests novel directions for basic and applied research on success.

Alternate JournalCurr Dir Psychol Sci
PubMed ID26855479
PubMed Central IDPMC4737958
Grant ListK01 AG033182 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States