It’s not every day that distinguished Ivy League professors quote Hollywood actors in their epigraphs. But that’s exactly what Angela Duckworth, associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, did in a recent article she coauthored with Lauren Eskreis-Winkler for Observer magazine:
"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things--you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple. . . ."
- Oscar-nominated actor and Grammy award-winning musician Will Smith
Why is this quote pertinent to Duckworth’s work? Mainly because it’s a testimonial about grit, which she defines, on her faculty webpage, as "perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals."