A Psychologist Reveals 3 Parts of the ‘Hard Thing Rule’ That She and Her Family Follow To Cultivate Grit

March 18, 2024

Angela Duckworth’s 'Hard Thing Rule' is like a daily workout for the mind and spirit. 

Here's how she explains the Hard Thing Rule in her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

“In our family we live by the Hard Thing Rule. It has three parts.

The first is that everyone – including Mom and Dad – has to do a hard thing.

A hard thing is something that requires daily deliberate practice.

I’ve told my kids that psychological research is my hard thing, but I also practice yoga. Dad tries to get better and better at being a real estate developer; he does the same with running.

My oldest daughter, Amanda, has chosen playing the piano as her hard thing. She did ballet for years, but later quit. So did Lucy.

This brings me to the second part of the Hard Thing Rule: You can quit, but…

You can’t quit until the season is over, the tuition payment is up, or some other “natural” stopping points has arrived. You must at least for the interval to which you’ve committed yourself, finish whatever you begin.

In other words, you can’t quit on a day when your teacher yells at you, or you lose a race, or you have to miss a sleepover because of a recital the next morning. You can’t quit on a bad day.

And, finally, the Hard Thing Rule states that you get to pick your hard thing.

Nobody picks it for you because, after all, it would make no sense to do a hard thing you’re not even vaguely interested in.”

– Angela Duckworth, Author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

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