Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Grit & Well-being

Researchers synthesized 83 studies with 66, 518 participants to discover that grit skills are related to well-being.  Grit has been defined as the capacity to persevere in the face of adversity and to maintain a passion for long-term goals. 

Well-being in this meta-analysis had two aspects: affect (the presence of positive emotions and the absence of depression) and life satisfaction.  Perseverance was strongly related to well-being and passion for long-term goals was weakly related to well-being.

One way to enhance perseverance skills is to understand growth mindset and the neuroscience that supports it.  People with a growth mindset believe you can improve learning and mastery with effort.  They take charge of their motivation, identify goals, make plans, develop strategies, work hard, and power through obstacles.  People with a growth mindset outperform people with a fixed mindset, who believe they have a limited amount of ability or talent.  Neuroscience research shows that our network of brain cells grows and changes with every experience, action, and thought. 

Takeaway:  You are likely to improve your well-being if you embrace the practice of listing your goals, crafting strategies and an action plan to achieve each goal, and persisting through the inevitable challenges that arise.

Well-being is a journey, not a quick fix


Hou, X., et al., Do Grittier People Have Greater Subjective Well-being? A Meta-Analysis, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Nov 22, 2021, Do Grittier People Have Greater Subjective Well-Being? A Meta-Analysis – Xiang-Ling Hou, Nicolas Becker, Tian-Qiang Hu, Marco Koch, Ju-Zhe Xi, René Mõttus, 2021.

Austin, D., Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students and Thriving Law Schools,77  Md L Rev 649, 675-677, (2018), Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students and Thriving Law Schools.

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