[FoRK] The Myth of Prodigy and Why it Matters

Noon Silk noonslists at gmail.com
Mon Oct 31 17:16:18 PDT 2011


On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:06 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Good points.  Nice tie-in with running.
>
> ...
> *
>>
>> *Gifted Learning vs. Gifted Doing*
>
> *...
>>
>> We think of precociousness as an early form of adult achievement, and,
>> according to Gladwell, that concept is much of the problem. “What a gifted
>> child is, in many ways, is a gifted learner. And what a gifted adult is, is
>> a gifted doer. And those are quite separate domains of achievement.”
>
> ...
>>
>> But most importantly, the young Mozart’s prowess can be chalked up to
>> practice, practice, practice. Compelled to practice three hours a day from
>> age three on, by age six the young Wolfgang had logged an astonishing 3,500
>> hours — “three times more than anybody else in his peer group. No wonder
>> they thought he was a genius.” So Mozart’s famous precociousness as a
>> musician was not innate musical ability but rather his ability to work hard,
>> and circumstances (i.e., his father) that pushed him to do so.
>>
>> “That is a very different definition of precociousness than I think the
>> one that we generally deal with.”
>>
>> A better poster child for what precociousness really entails, Gladwell
>> hinted, may thus be the famous intellectual late-bloomer, Einstein. Gladwell
>> cited a biographer’s description of the future physicist, who displayed no
>> remarkable native intelligence as a child but whose success seems to have
>> derived from certain habits and personality traits — curiosity, doggedness,
>> determinedness — that are the less glamorous but perhaps more essential
>> components of genius.

I think probably also important is that there's a significant middle
group; those who work hard, and are happy. Practically, it's
impossible for everyone to become Einstein-like, because you'd just
redefine the best. So, what should be important for the majority of
people is not "how can I become the best" but, "how can I live a happy
life"; and I think working hard is a nice way to achieve that (i.e.
the satisfaction of accomplishment, etc).

-- 
Noon Silk

Fancy a quantum lunch? http://groups.google.com/group/quantum-lunch?hl=en

"Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy — the joy
of being this signature."



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