Most of us believe that grit, defined as the commitment and perseverance to achieve goals, may be the key to success. However, a psychologist from the Iowa State University argues that grit does not improve one’s performance to reach one’s goals.

It turns out that grit is not that good of a predictor of success as intelligence and conscientiousness are. This personality trait became noteworthy when the cadets with above average levels of grit were allegedly 99 percent more likely to complete the training than those with average grit levels. But according to psychologist Marcus Credé, this was actually just a three percent likelihood instead of 99 percent.

Moreover, separating grit’s component is more effective than overall grit. Perseverance allowed students to get better grades than both perseverance and commitment combined.


Grit does not necessarily predict success. Credit: Wikimedia/

While Credé does not aim to discredit grit, he just wants educators to know that trying to impart grit in their students may be a waste of time. Grit was recommended to be included in the US education system in 2013.

“Nobody wants to hear that success in life is made up of many small factors that all add up. It’s your education, it’s how hard you work, it’s your conscientious and creativity – all these little pieces that add up,” says Credé. “We want to be told here’s one big thing that explains everything.”

Educators are misleading students to believe that all they need is grit to be successful when in fact, it may not matter in the long run. Credé recommends other ways to accomplish one’s goals.

“We know from other meta-analyses that variables such as adjustment, study habits and skills, test anxiety and class attendance are far more strongly related to performance than grit,” explains Credé. “We also know that we can help students adjust better, we can teach them how to study effectively, we can help them with their test anxiety and we can make them come to class through interventions. I’m not sure we can do that with grit.”