Self-Discipline is more important than IQ for getting good grades in school.
That’s the conclusion of a paper by Duckworth & Seligman called Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance.
In a longitudinal study of 140 eighth-grade students, self-discipline measured by self-report, parent report, teacher report, and monetary choice questionnaires in the fall predicted final grades, school attendance, standardized achievement-test scores, and selection into a competitive high school program the following spring. In a replication with 164 eighth graders, a behavioral delay-of-gratification task, a questionnaire on study habits, and a group-administered IQ test were added. Self-discipline measured in the fall accounted for more than twice as much variance as IQ in final grades, high school selection, school attendance, hours spent doing homework, hours spent watching television (inversely), and the time of day students began their homework. The effect of self-discipline on final grades held even when controlling for first-marking-period grades, achievement-test scores, and measured IQ. These findings suggest a major reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline.
Why it Matters:
Underachievement among American youth is often blamed on inadequate teachers, boring textbooks, and large class sizes. We suggest another reason for students falling short of their intel-lectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline. As McClure (1986) has speculated, “Our society’s emphasis on instant gratification may mean that young students are unable to delay gratification long enough to achieve academic competence” We believe that many of America’s children have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gain, and that programs that build self-discipline may be the royal road to building academic achievement.
Will Power is a SKILL — train it.
Now go lift something heavy,