Asked what it takes to succeed in life, most people would say you have to be smart and work hard, says Howard Gardner P’87, ’90, ’94, who is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “That’s called wit and grit,” he says, “and my work has been to complexify those notions.”
Gardner, who delivered the 2014–15 Hall Fellow lecture in April, is best known for his work on multiple intelligences, which expanded the notion of wit. Grit is having its turn in the limelight, as researchers such as Angela Duckworth at Penn look into how grit can be a predictor of achievement. “But Hitler and his storm troopers had plenty of grit, and the people who ran Enron had plenty of grit,” Gardner says. “So what I’ve been trying to do is nudge value-free grit toward good grit. We want people to be good persons, good workers, and good citizens.”
To watch his lecture to parents and alumnae/i in full, please see the video below.