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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Grit or gratitude?

Education folks are sick of hearing about grit: It’s the Finland of social-emotional traits.

Gratitude, compassion and pride are the three traits that enable Emotional Success according to David DeSteno, a Northeastern University psychology professor.

No more nose to the grindstone, writes Olga Khazan in an Atlantic interview with DeSteno. Gratitude, compassion and pride “encourage self-control and patience.”

“The ability to value the future more than the present, to persevere, and to face temptation and delay gratification is an essential ingredient in success,” says DeSteno.Self-control developed to help people forge social relationships, he argues.

(To form relationships) you have to be fair, you have to be generous, you have to be honest. You have to have compassion, empathy, and support other people. Basically, you have to be willing to cooperate. Cooperation requires self-control.
What you’re basically doing when you cooperate, is you’re accepting some sacrifice in the moment, not earning as much as you could, or helping somebody else move on a day you don’t really want to help them.

How did pride get in there?

The thing about pride is, it’s if you have some skill that those around you admire, and that makes you want to hone it. Why? Because you’re working hard to develop a skill that makes you valuable to other people. “These emotions not only give us the grit to persevere, they give us the grace to build social capital, to build relationships, and to draw others to us,” DeSteno concludes.See? Grit got in there in the end.Gratitude is one of KIPP’s “character strengths,” along with grit, self-control, social intelligence, zest, optimism and curiosity.
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