Saturday, June 27, 2009

Talent And Effort

If what I have seen within my own extended family is part of a broader trend, I would agree completely with the author of the book Talent Is Overrated. I have quite a few relatives with quirky, sometimes eccentric personalities and one or more serious talents. Almost all of them were too lazy or complacent to apply themselves, put the hard-work necessary to achieve anything remarkable from those natural gifts. Most if not all of them were openly disdainful of those of us who were not nearly as brilliant but persevered to achieve whatever it was we wanted to. It was as if hard-work was the exclusive domain of the dim-witted and we were wearing our badge of feeble-mindedness by being so hard-working.

As it turns out, the more "average" of the lot who put in the relentless hours of "deliberate practice" the author refers to, ended up faring better than the extremely talented. That said, I am big believer in the virtue of hard-work. While one cannot control the amount of innate talent one has (or does not have), effort is entirely in one's control and that should confer a feeling of empowerment, in my mind. One of the first things I taught J was the Thomas Edison quotation "Genius is one per-cent inspiration and ninety-nine per-cent perspiration". Needless to say, the hare and tortoise parable has been repeated a gazillion times in our household to ensure the lesson is well learned and never forgotten.

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