Lehrer’s article on “The Truth About Grit” starts off with the commonly known story of Isaac Newton and the falling apple, but says that it wasn’t the spark of the apple falling that made Newton pioneer the course of understanding gravity- it was years of serious thought and work. Edison’s quote, “One percent inspiration, 99% perspiration” explains the concept of grit and how important it is to success. The survey done at West Point was another example of how grit proved to be the best measure of success- in high stress environments, those who didn’t feel hurt by setbacks persevered. Lehrer then goes on to talk about the problems facing scientists who try to study character traits instead of IQs and academics- the vague nature of character definitions. Duckworth tried to narrow these down, first by narrowly defining grit, then by studying student’s success in colleges and admissions. While Lehrer says that the American system concentrates on test scores and well-roundedness, he points out that grit and passionate pursuits are what several studies and scientists have pointed out as the real determinate of success.
This piece seems to have a lot of similarities with Lehrer’s other piece on insight, though this relies more on studies than on hard science. Both articles are about similar things- maximizing the efficiency of the human brain, things that the military is really invested in. While insight was more about split second needs for innovation, grit is more about overcoming challenges and dealing with situations.