More than Aptitude

Submitted By:
Jen Hoggan, Collegiate School, Richmond, VA

Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things by Adam Grant
Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, October 24, 2023

Have you ever felt a nagging sense that you aren’t quite living up to your true potential, or that as an educator, you aren’t able to tap and maximize the potential of each of the students in your care? Adam Grant’s new book, Hidden Potential, explores this conundrum and presents research and strategies for maximizing the potential in ourselves and in those whom we teach and coach. Grant argues that skills of character — those we employ to get better at getting better — are more important than aptitude in maximizing personal capacity. Those skills include embracing discomfort, soliciting and absorbing useful feedback, and relinquishing perfectionism. Grant also demonstrates how the use of deliberate play, teamwork, and methods for becoming “unstuck” help to scaffold an individual’s reach for stronger performance. Additionally, Grant demonstrates that it is possible to design educational and hiring practices that recognize hidden potential by evaluating individuals not only on current performance, but also on their progress and obstacles overcome. Ultimately, Hidden Potential is a must-read for anyone interested in boosting performance, but especially for parents, teachers, coaches, and those invested in building the potential of the next generation.

Teaching Practice
Leadership Practice