Angela Duckworth Explains When and Why People Quit

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The Knowledge Project

You’re most likely to give up on a goal when you either stop believing you can achieve it or you start to value it less. Psychology professor Angela Duckworth discusses how uncertainty about the future leads to learned helplessness and the circumstances that make it difficult to have grit. Angela Duckworth is the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a not-for-profit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She’s also the author of Grit, a New York Times bestseller that examines why some people succeed and others fail, and why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. In episode 109 of The Knowledge Project podcast, Angela Duckworth and Shane Parrish discuss topics including: How your situation shapes your personality Why success makes you complacent—and what sets outstanding performers apart Mindsets that help us succeed in life The central question of psychology Developing self-efficacy ---- ABOUT THE KNOWLEDGE PROJECT PODCAST Like the mentor you’ve always dreamed of having, The Knowledge Project shares timely yet timeless lessons for work and life. Past guests include Naval Ravikant, Daniel Kahneman, Jim Collins, Angela Duckworth, Seth Godin, Melanie Mitchell, & Esther Perel. SUBSCRIBE for clips highlighting actionable lessons and profound wisdom from guests ranging from Nobel Prize winners to CEOs of the largest companies in the world and everything in between. Full episode: https://fs.blog/knowledge-project/angela-duckworth/ Get early access and episode transcripts: https://fs.blog/membership/ Subscribe to the podcast: Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3fz6u4X​ | Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2SSgCvT​ | Google Podcasts: https://bit.ly/2Wjw7iy ---- FOLLOW Angela Duckworth: https://angeladuckworth.com/ I https://twitter.com/angeladuckw I https://www.facebook.com/angeladuckworthgrit Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/farnamstreet/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/farnamstreet​ Shane Parrish: https://twitter.com/ShaneAParrish Newsletter: https://fs.blog/newsletter/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FarnamStreet/

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Video Transcript:

I'm curious as to the moment like when are we most likely to give up like when it comes back to grit for a second like what are the times when we're most likely to give up and what do we intervene in those times is there a mental intervention we can have with ourselves or is there a recognition oh this is that point like i know it's coming i just need to get over this hump And in part like i see and i knew you said grit was about long term but i feel like there's a lot of grit necessary in the times that we're in right now too right this kind of like well time limited crisis right yeah it's it's not it's not but in indefinite we don't know quite normally it's indefinitely going to end we just don't know when But we don't know when right which um i think um you know just to think about like the psychological dimensions of 2020 um the uncertainty clearly amplified you know all of the negative emotion right i think we're much better at somebody saying like hey you're going to have to be in coordinate for 17 days that's going to be terrible and then the following things are Definitely going to happen to you brace yourself right versus like you wake up and then like you don't know what's going to happen but it's pretty bad and then like some other bad things happen um that is by the way um what you do to an animal if you want to induce learned helplessness which is um you know the work of my phd advisor marty seligman um where you know you have an animal and Then you like shock them i mean this is his early research and then the key is that if they experience these um uh traumas at an unpredictable way with like you know you don't know when it's gonna end you know next thing's gonna happen that's when you actually get you know the symptoms of depression um and giving up so anyway 2020 has been like You know a learned helplessness experiment and um and the suffering has been real and amplified i think psychologically because of that um with gritty people i think that the um well let's start with like not even gritty people but like when we give up and like when we're most likely to give up and what's going on there you know i think that when people say Oh no i'm not going to try anymore um there is either a lack of confidence that you can prevail right like no i'm not going to go for soccer again because i'll never make varsity or like i'll never be very good right that's self-efficacy that's agency that's al bandura that's what we were just talking about the antidote to which by the way as al said is like small mastery experiences right like if you can see some progress Um and there are some other sources of self-efficacy which i can um you know sketch out if you like but the other thing i think is that like if it's not that you can't do it it's just that it has it has no value to you like like like what am i even doing this is a stupid job like like am i like i when i quit mansion consulting and you know some of my best friends are managing consultants So it's not like i think it's a meaningless industry but for me personally who had been so interested in kids in education i literally said out loud if i go to my grave you know like increasing the roi for a hypodermic needle company like i just will not feel like i fulfilled my purpose so um it couldn't Have been that i didn't think i could make partner or director i think i could have um it was just that like that goal lost value for me so if you ask the question like when do people quit i think it's either because they the value of the goal um goes down for whatever reason or their belief that they can achieve it you

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