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What's your
true grit?

Take our quiz to find out.

As an explanation for his success as a scientist, Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer."

Someone who has the ability to stick with something and persevere with determination, despite tremendous obstacles, is known as having “grit.” And the consensus today among educators is that having a lot of grit is an indication of a person’s ability to succeed in life.

“It’s very important that we know what we want and we continuously go after it with passion, with energy and with excitement,” says Cindra Kamphoff, director for the Center of Sport and Performance Psychology at Minnesota State University. She’s a performance coach who uses the concept of grit to train her athletes to achieve higher results.

A person’s grit absolutely affects the outcome of success, Kamphoff explains. “Many people expect success to be a straight line, where if you work hard, you’ll get where you need to go. But when you look at the journey of success, you’re going to experience setbacks. For an athlete that might be an injury, and for a business executive, it might be getting fired.” And whether you succeed is often due to your ability to bounce back with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment.

Do you have enough grit to succeed? Take our quiz to discover—when push comes to shove—just how gritty you really are:

1. You’re close to finishing an important project you’ve been working on for weeks, when your computer crashes and your work disappears. Sure it’s upsetting, but ultimately ...:

C. You’ll redo the project and learn something important from the experience. In the end, you’ll believe this mishap was a blessing in disguise because you improved your first draft.

M. You’ll give up on the project entirely, deciding that this accident was an act of fate. You weren’t meant to do this kind of work in the first place.

I. You’ll eventually return to the project, but when you do, you won’t regain the same enthusiasm.

2. You’re at a lively dinner party; when someone asks about your future career plans, you generally respond with ...

I. Dread. You have a hard time setting goals and don’t like being put on the spot about them.

C. Enthusiasm. You’ve spent long hours thinking about where you’re heading and where you’d like to be a few years from now.

M. Hesitation. You have some ambitions but aren’t so certain you will achieve them. How can you predict the future or claim to know where you’re headed?

3. If you stayed late at work every night this week and went out of your way to be a bit of a perfectionist, it’s likely because you’re ...

M. Trying to make a good impression with your boss and the higher-ups in the organization.

I. Uh, you’re describing someone else. You don’t behave this way ever.

C. Exceptionally passionate about what you’re doing, giving your absolute best effort in order to learn more and get the most out of your time.

4. When someone you respect gives you negative feedback in front of others, you’re likely to ...

I. Go home and bury your face in a pillow. You’ll likely make harsh decisions about yourself and your ability to succeed based on the experience.

C. Take the feedback. You determine to work harder the next time and use the criticism to help you learn new ways to tackle the situation.

M. Let it affect you for a while. Although you’ll likely get over it, you may wind up avoiding this person in the future.

5. You order a piece of furniture online that you have long admired, but when it arrives you realize that not only will you have to assemble it, there are 456 small parts and cryptic instructions. You ...

M. Get frustrated. You’ll work on it but in the end, you may wind up hiring someone to finish it.

I. Send it back.

C. Set aside some time to figure it out. You’ll complete the project, no matter how long it takes.

6. You finally figured out a career you’re really passionate about pursuing, but many people tell you the odds of success are slim because it’s super competitive. How likely is it that you‘ll stick to this goal?

C. 85–100%

M. 30–70%

I. 0–15%

7. It’s your day off and you’re suddenly in a traffic jam, when you realize it’s due to a car collision. You can see that paramedics haven’t arrived on the scene yet. Although there are other cars around, no one is jumping out to assist the victims. How likely is it that you’ll pull over to help?

C. Definitely. I usually give 100%, even in a potentially hazardous situation.

M. It really depends. If no one comes forward, I might do it, but I’m not sure.

I. This is definitely not me. I’m not likely to get involved in a situation that is so stressful.

8. You’re excited about creating a vegetable garden. You go out and buy the soil, seeds, fertilizer and equipment. But you wind up getting really sick for a week, delaying the project. How likely is it that several months later you will have a thriving garden?

C. 100%: I always finish what I start.

M. 50-60%: It depends. I’m not sure if I will start it again when I recover.

I. 5-15%: I have good intentions but often get sidetracked, especially when I hit a bump.