Talent vs Hard Work

Does it take talent to be good at triathlon?  Or, does it take everyone exactly the same amount of time to become an expert?  The prevailing myth in our culture is that the sportswomen, scientists, and writers that we admire are born with gifts. They were born with a natural ability to kick a soccer ball, had minds that understood chemistry, or could just write beautiful prose. But, current research shows this is not true. Every one of us has the potential to become a PRO. 

I went to a talk today about how to help students learn to think more like experts and the speaker reminded me of research results indicating that innate talent is not linked to performance.  Instead, it’s all about deliberate practice (i.e. the kind of practice that a good coach or teacher guides you through).  And, it takes everyone approximately the same amount of time to become an expert at anything. In the end, if you want to improve at something it’s all about hard work, the attitude you adopt while training… and seeking out feedback from experts.

This article by Colvin entitled, “What it takes to be great” sums up these findings well:
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm

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