Character DEVELOPMENT research

Angela Duckworth
Professor at University of Pennsylvania
Author of the very famous & best -selling book GRIT
CEO of the Non-Profit Character Lab
Famous Speaker at TEd

Angela Duckworth, is a famous scientist from the University of Pennsylvania who is known for her work in the area of Character Measurement and Development

A must watch video on her work on Character

In the following video, she talks about her remarkable work and findings in the area of Character Measurement.

Her research is the basis for Life-University's Character Module. We do not use it as it is but we do take some ideas from it.

Her work at KIPP

Prior to Character Lab, along with the founder of KIPP schools, she devised a Character Growth Card, which is just like a report card, but measures Character Growth in the students studying in KIPP schools. KIPP is a chain of about 250 schools in the USA that is focused on children from low-income groups and is known for their academic success. KIPP was highly praised by Bill Gates in one of his famous TEd talks for its exceptional approach to teaching academics. Read more about how KIPP focusses on Character Development. 

Benefit of Measuring Character

In the business world, it is an established fact that if we want to improve anything, we must "measure" it. It applies to other areas as well.

Karl Pearson was a British statistician and was known as the leading founder of the modern field of Statistics.

SoM's Approach

In SoM, we plan to take Character Growth & Measurement to another level. SoM will measure many character traits falling under different categories, not just the 8 character traits used in KIPP's Character Growth Card.

Whatever is discussed here, including the list of Character Traits, is tentative and is shared here just to give a general idea of the plan.

SoM will measure many different Character traits in children. They can fall under different categories:

As of now, moral values are not part of these 32 traits, but in future they need to be added in these list of traits or elsewhere.

As seen below, the current list of traits is 32 in number, out of which the 12 highlighted ones are the most critical.

The child can decide which traits he wants to work on. He will be given activities, challenges, and videos to watch, that would help him develop those traits. 

If parents of the child are also on the Life-University (they can be invited by the child), they can be involved in child's character development. Friends influence children a great deal. Friends can also be involved to help the child. For example: if a child has 2-3 friends who are into sports, they can be connected to the child if the child is trying for getting into sports.

The child will be measuring his growth in the character traits to see how he is growing. Parents and Friends will be rating the child in these traits. Example: A child may rate how kind he was in last 2 days. Then the friends and parents may also rate him for kindness. He will be able to compare his own rating with that of parents and friends to see if they also think he was kind or not.

32 Character Traits for the Mars Mission

😄  Happiness Traits

Stress management

Positive Thinking


Handling Criticism

Handling Peer Pressure

Endurance & Resilience


🚴🏼‍♂️  Performance Traits

Will Power






Critical Thinking

🌕  Spiritual Qualities

Feeling Based





Wisdom Based

Calmness under all circumstances 




Serving Others 

Humility (Repeated)



Attitude towards opposite sex

⛹🏻‍♀️  Physical Traits

Physical strength

Physical cleanliness


🤗  Social Skills

Anger Management 

Conflict resolution

Understanding other’s feelings

Empathising with others (Included in ‘Love’)

Kindness  (Included in ‘Love’)

Children will be able to pick and choose what area of character development they want to focus on. If they do not want to focus on Devotion and other traits related to belief in a higher power, it is perfectly all right to skip those traits. There are many other traits they can focus on which will help them to grow Spirituality. Later, when they feel ready for devotion and related traits, they can choose to focus on that.

Critical Habits

Can a surgery happen without tools like scissors, forceps, and others? Similarly, the character traits can not be improved easily without following a certain discipline and a set of techniques for changing the mind. Daily deep Meditation, Physical Activities like Sports, Breathing Techniques, Spiritual Reading, etc, will be the critical habits that will be an integral part of SoM which every child/youth must strive to cultivate. In fact, the strength these children need to develop character traits will come from these habits. These habits will bring the elixir of spirituality to their lips.

Here is a list of practices and habits that SoM would encourage its students to follow:

How to Develop Character?

Critical Habits

Critical Habits go a long way in developing these habits.

More details will be added here.

Online Activities to Develop Character

Self driven, Assisted, Parental help, Friend's help, Teacher's help,  Mentor's help.

More details will be added here.

Character Sprints

There can be short activities for character development. For example, there can be a 10 days will power sprint, wherein the child taking part in the sprint will be asked to practise will power for 10 consecutive days. He will be able to interact with others online who would be practising the same sprint. Just practising will power for 10 days won't increase will power substantially in a long run but that can be a good start and next he can take will power development as a longer term activity.