I don’t remember when I started being a fan of Angela Duckworth and her research on grit.  I know it was a long time ago.  My son is in high school now and I know it was when he was in elementary school when I was trying to explain to him that hard work is what leads to success.  Her research on grit in spelling bees appears in an article in 2007.  In 2013, her research statement summarizes her approach:

“The Duckworth Lab focuses on two traits that predict success in life: grit and self-control. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Self-control is the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions. On average, individuals who are gritty are more self-controlled, but the correlation between these two traits is not perfect: some individuals are paragons of grit but not self-control, and some exceptionally well-regulated individuals are not especially gritty. While we haven’t fully worked out how these two traits are related, it seems that an important distinction has to do with timescale: As Galton (1892) suggested, the inclination to pursue especially challenging aims over months, years, and even decades is distinct from the capacity to resist “the hourly temptations,” pursuits which bring momentary pleasure but are immediately regretted.”

“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.”  Grit is a better predictor of success that IQ or self-control.  It almost seems obvious that commitment and effort towards a long term goal is the key ingredient of long term success.  But perhaps that because I’ve been a fan of Angela Duckworth’s work for years.