[FoRK] The Myth of Prodigy and Why it Matters

geege schuman geege4 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 12:19:45 PDT 2011


Your definition of success might depend somewhat on how you're hard-wired:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits



On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:05 PM, Noon Silk <noonslists at gmail.com> wrote:

>  On Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> > On 10/31/11 5:16 PM, Noon Silk wrote:
> >>
> >> On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:06 AM, Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Good points.  Nice tie-in with running.
> >>> ...
> >>> 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).
> >
> > I don't disagree with the basic point that being happy and satisfied
> without
> > being "the best" is a reasonable end point.  However, there are two
> > different things that are muddled together practically everywhere
> Einstein
> > and terms like "the best" are mentioned: Being the best at something
> > (useful) is interesting, but, as you say, only a few people can be "the
> > best".  What we're actually appreciating is usually that someone
> > accomplished something significantly interesting and useful.  You do not
> > need to be the best to do that, unless the field is already saturated
> with
> > best-candidates who are doing everything that can be done faster than you
> > can.
>
> You're quite right about that, I somewhat missed that. I guess what I
> was commenting on was that the kind of proposed reward for hard-work
> shouldn't be Einsteinian-like recognition, but just the very thing you
> say - the promise of maybe contributing in a new and interesting way
> to some field you're interested in.
>
> And I agree it's quite nice and reassuring to see that a lot of these
> genius' (Feynman, Mozart, etc) are "somewhat" at genius level because
> of significant hard work. But I think another thing, is
> *effectiveness* at study. I personally study quite a bit, but there
> are other students here who are far smarter than me, because I think
> they study more effectively. It's probably a good skill to learn.
>
> And regarding the creative idea thing, I think an important point in
> that area is to not be afraid of saying and pursing seemingly "stupid"
> ideas. I've found I've been able to generate some good ideas from
> initially "stupid" starting positions.
>
>
> > [...]
> >
> > You did take the Stanford ML & AI classes, right?  Fun stuff.
>
> Nope, wouldn't have minded, but already studying and working, so not
> much time for that :)
>
>
> > sdw
>
> --
> 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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