David Brooks on grit:

Success is about being passionately good at one or two things, but students who want to get close to that 4.0 have to be prudentially balanced about every subject. In life we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the G.P.A. system encourages students to be deferential and risk averse, giving their teachers what they want.

Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the G.P.A. rewards those who can answer other people’s questions. The modern economy rewards those who can think in ways computers can’t, but the G.P.A. rewards people who can grind away at mental tasks they find boring. People are happiest when motivated intrinsically, but the G.P.A. is the mother of all extrinsic motivations.

He also mentions Angela Duckworth’s new book, Grit.



Innate Talent

At Aeon, Sam Haselby asks, is artistic talent innate?:

In reality, artistic creativity is extremely widespread, maybe even a human universal. Most young children would be capable of achieving advanced proficiency in several different disciplines (athletic, visual, performative/musical, mathematical, verbal), and culture is replete with examples of folk art, ordinary inventiveness (Etsy, patent applications) and creativity in many different dimensions (cake-decorating, graffiti). What is less common, perhaps, is the drive and persistence (“grit,” in recent terminology) to develop those skills to a level that will lead others to identify the individual who possesses them as having exceptional talent. Those we think of as most creative – take a list of recent MacArthur Foundation fellowship winners, or of living artists whose work is held in the permanent collections of major museums like the Guggenheim or MOMA – are often no more creative than their less distinguished peers; they are more driven, or more gifted at envisioning and executing the shape of a career, or sometimes just more fortunate in a right-time-right-place sense.

Grit, man. You gotta have grit.




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