Grow Your Grit

with VISIONS

Grow Your Grit

with VISIONS

What trait offers the best chance at future happiness and success? Not a high IQ. Not even innate talent. According to the educational research, it’s “grit”—the old-fashioned term that refers to perseverance, determination and optimism, even in the face of disappointment and failure. Angela Duckworth turned the concept into a buzzword with her 2016 bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. (How do you rank on the grit scale? Test your mettle with Duckworth’s quiz)

 

At VISIONS, we’re well acquainted with grit. Over the last 30 years, we’ve watched our participants build it right before our very eyes. When students are taken out of their comfortable home environment and entrusted with completing physically challenging work toward the shared goal of helping others, they rise to the occasion. They take pride in these efforts, and start to see themselves as more capable and self-reliant than they previously thought. This new confidence leads to seeking out more challenges, and building up another layer of grit (in addition to the literal one they get from construction projects).

When alums reflect on their experiences, we hear some pretty “gritty” feedback. Here are a few examples:

  • I liked that the community service was physically and mentally challenging, and really pushed us to work harder every day. — Mei Nagaoka
  • I became aware of my strengths and saw how far I could push my limits. I was capable of achieving more than I could ever imagine. — Cemre Sevin
  • What was so great about my group was that every day we woke up at 7:00 in the morning, ready and excited about going to work. As we made progress it only made us work harder and harder day-by-day. There was no better reward than to see their faces after the houses were built. — Sam Westman
  • I proved to myself that I was capable of things people close to me would have never imagined I could do. I feel that at the same time I served both the community and myself and that was such a good feeling. — Lara Kovant