Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Secrets of Greatness

October 24th, 2006 · No Comments

[via Sadagopan] Fortune has a story by Geoffrey Colvin: “Research now shows that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. The secret? Painful and demanding practice and hard work.”

Scientific experts are producing remarkably consistent findings across a wide array of fields. Understand that talent doesn’t mean intelligence, motivation or personality traits. It’s an innate ability to do some specific activity especially well. British-based researchers Michael J. Howe, Jane W. Davidson and John A. Sluboda conclude in an extensive study, “The evidence we have surveyed … does not support the [notion that] excelling is a consequence of possessing innate gifts.”

To see how the researchers could reach such a conclusion, consider the problem they were trying to solve. In virtually every field of endeavor, most people learn quickly at first, then more slowly and then stop developing completely. Yet a few do improve for years and even decades, and go on to greatness.

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