安杰拉·达克沃思的职业经历很有意思，毕业之后她在全球顶级咨询公司麦肯锡工作，然而她却在自己前途一片光明的时候却出了一个令人吃惊的决定：她放弃了让人羡慕的薪资和头衔，选择去纽约一家公立学校当数学老师。在几年的教学生涯中，她逐渐意识到造成人与人之间成就上差异的关键因素可能并不是天赋，因为她发现有些小孩虽然学起来很轻松，但是最终的成绩却不如其他同学理想，而那些最努力的学生，表现总是很突出。这使得她对成就背后的原因产生了浓厚的兴趣，为了能深入弄清楚这个问题，她又做出了一个意想不到的决定——去宾夕法尼亚大学攻读心理学博士学位。宾夕法尼亚大学是积极心理学的大本营，而她当时的导师就是积极心理学之父Martin Seligman。

以下内容就是作者当数学教师时的经历以及对这段经历的思考。

Just as I’d found in New York, some of the students I expected to excel,because math came so easy to them, did worse than their classmates. On the other hand, some of my hardest workers were consistently my highest performers on tests and quizzes.

One of these very hard workers was David Luong.

David was in my freshman algebra class. There were two kinds of algebra classes at Lowell: the accelerated track led to Advanced Placement Calculusby senior year, and the regular track, which I was teaching, didn’t. The students in my class hadn’t scored high enough on Lowell’s math placement exam to get into the accelerated track.

David didn’t stand out at first. He was quiet and sat toward the back of the room. He didn’t raise his hand a lot; he rarely volunteered to come to the board to solve problems.

But I soon noticed that every time I graded an assignment, David had turned in perfect work. He aced my quizzes and tests. When I marked one of his answers as incorrect, it was more often my error than his. And, wow, he was just so hungry to learn. In class, his attention was rapt. After class, he’d stay and ask, politely, for harder assignments.

I began to wonder what the heck this kid was doing in my class.Once I understood how ridiculous the situation was, I marched David into the office of my department chair. It didn’t take long to explain what was going on. Fortunately, the chair was a wise and wonderful teacher who placed a higher value on kids than on bureaucratic rules. She immediately started the paperwork to switch David out of my class and into the accelerated track.

My loss was the next teacher’s gain. Of course, there were ups and downs,and not all of David’s math grades were A’s. “After I left your class, and switched into the more advanced one, I was a little behind,” David later told me. “And the next year, math—it was geometry—continued to be hard. I didn’t get an A. I got a B.” In the next class, his first math test came back with a D.

“How did you deal with that?” I asked.

“I did feel bad—I did—but I didn’t dwell on it. I knew it was done. I knew I had to focus on what to do next. So I went to my teacher and asked for help. I basically tried to figure out, you know, what I did wrong. What I needed to do differently.”

By senior year, David was taking the harder of Lowell’s two honors calculus courses. That spring, he earned a perfect 5 out of 5 on the Advanced Placement exam.

After Lowell（一所中学的名字）, David attended Swarthmore College, graduating with dual degrees in engineering and economics.

I sat with his parents at his graduation,remembering the quiet student in the back of my classroom who ended up proving that aptitude tests can get a lot of things wrong.

Two years ago, David earned a PhD in mechanical engineering from UCLA.His dissertation was on optimal performance algorithms for the thermodynamic processes in truck engines. In English: David used math to help make engine smore efficient.

Today, he is an engineer at the Aerospace Corporation. Quite literally, the boy who was deemed “not ready” for harder, faster math classesis now a “rocket scientist.”

During the next several years of teaching, I grew less and less convinced that talent was destiny and more and more intrigued by the returns generated by effort. Intent on plumbing the depths of that mystery, I eventually left teaching tobecome a psychologist.

如果对作者感兴趣或者说对Grit（坚毅）感兴趣的话可以到网上找TED演讲精选Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit 这个TED演讲只有六分钟，能够很快速的了解作者的这一段经历。