Grit Needs Passion, Not Fear

Passionless persistence might lead to achievement but will it make you happy?


It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein   When I first started writing about how to foster “grit” in kids years ago, I thought I’d found a parenting silver bullet. Early research from the celebrated psychologist Angela Duckworth showed that grit—or “perseverance and passion for […]

How to Achieve Your Goals on Autopilot

At each turn of the season, lots of achievement-oriented people set goals. The start of the school year is my favorite time to do this -- for myself, and for my teens

How to Achieve Your Goals on Autopilot - Christine Carter

At each turn of each season, lots of achievement-oriented people set goals. The start of the school year is my favorite time to do this for myself (I’m with Gretchen Rubin, who calls September “the other January”). I also have my teens set some goals for themselves. But we aren’t very ambitious, and for good reason. […]

Do Some Serious Day Dreaming

When was the last time you just sat down and stared into space? Put your feet up and did nothing? Spaced out in the shower?


Okay, now when was the last time you did one of these things and didn’t feel like you should be doing something else instead? If you can’t remember, you aren’t alone.Many of us don’t feel good about just sitting around doing nothing. But we human beings need stillness in order to recharge our batteries. The constant stream of external […]

Why Staring into Space is an Important Strategy for Success

Think about the last time and place you got a great idea, or solved a problem that had been plaguing you. Where were you?


The answer is a cliché: You were probably in the shower. Creativity doesn’t come from the bathroom, we know, but it sure does seem highly correlated with it. So what is it about the shower that leads to our “aha” moments and bursts of creativity? It’s that in the shower we are simply staring into […]

Are You a People Pleaser?

Why it's Time to Start Telling the Truth

People ask me all the time what the secret to happiness is. “If you had to pick just one thing,” they wonder, “what would be the most important thing for leading a happy life?” Ten years ago, I would have told you a regular gratitude practice was the most important thing, and while that is […]