I’m worried that people when they read the message that kids who are successful later in life because they first experienced failure then design schools so that students artificially experience failure.

When I read Paul Tough’s book on “How Children Succeed” I wondered, is the theory of “grit” an example of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

In other words, we find examples of kids who are successful when we would not expect them to be, and so we look for a shared trait that they apparently had before they experienced success, and then assume that because they had this trait before they experience success that this trait caused their success.

Here’s an alternate hypothesis. We expect “success” to be somewhat normally distributed trait (perhaps with a skew because of lack of opportunity). Some portion of any group of people will therefore experience higher levels of success than the rest of the group, and we should be careful to attribute this success to anything other than random chance.