Winners Never Quit: Self Discipline Wins over Talent

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Peter Doskoch summarizes a series of controversial empirical studies by saying in Psychology Today in the November/December 2005 issue: We’re primed to think that talent is the key to success. But what counts even more is a fusion of passion and perseverance. In a world of instant gratification, grit may yield the biggest payoff of all.

Doskoch describes preliminaries and results from from a series of studies by Angela Duckworth and Martin E.P. Seligman. They observe the importance of personal grit, some call if self discipline in school and non school successes. Doskoch refers to the phrase many of us learned from our parents, quitters never win.

The researchers found self-discipline predicted all sorts of academic measures taken seven months later, including the children’s average grade for the academic year, their Spring exam result and their selection into High School.

Highly self-disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic-performance variable, including report card grades, standardized achievement test scores, admission to a competitive high school and attendance. Self-discipline measured in the fall predicted more variance in each of these outcomes than did IQ, and unlike IQ, self-discipline predicted gains in academic performance over the school year.”

These comments remind me of the question: Does edutainment appeal to the short interest span of adults or children?

See also: Duckworth, A.L. & Seligman, M.E.P. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological Science, 16, 939-944.

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.