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Sorry NY Times, but Talent is Still Over-rated

This is for my fellow dorks who are interested in how people get amazing at things.
It’s a short post because I am irritated by what I read here:


How depressing. Even the title: ‘sorry strivers, talent matters’ is purposefully discouraging. That alone is what makes me mad. Therefore, I write this.

Again, the research is relevant only within the realm of academia. But even if taken in only this context, spurious correlations pervade this article throughout. People at the highest quartile of SAT scores are likely encouraged significantly to pursue a career in academia, if not deliberately by friends and family, but through their own satisfaction of high achievement early on. Their abilities lead them in their direction. However, this does not take away the fact that they have to spend thousands of hours of practice/study to become masters at what they choose to do.

THAT is why talent only ‘seems’ to matter, and exactly why the book ‘talent is over-rated’ was written. Natural inclinations matter at the beginning of ones pursuit of expertise (the books cited never deny this), but eventually nothing else matters but hard work.

You can’t ‘naturally’ be good at chemistry, math, or business acumen; you must learn. If you are a chemist, you have to learn what a benzene ring is. If you are a stock broker, you have to learn what leveraged ETF’s are. You can’t ‘talent’ your way into the big leagues, or else talented beginners would be in be in the MLB.

Lets get back to academia. Last time I checked, you don’t publish an article in an academic journal because you had a good SAT score. You still have to go to University for years. You don’t get a PhD without years of hard work.

Practice is still the most important factor.

Bottom line: If you are passionate about something, go for it. Work extremely hard. Don’t let people like this discourage you. Don’t let “I’m not talented enough” be an excuse.

/end rant

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