Introduction: Talent Born Or Made?
Talent born or made? That’s an interesting question. This post was inspired by a fascinating story I read in The Skinny on Success: Why Not You? by Jim Randel. The author relates a story in Geoff Covin’s book, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else.
In the book, Hungarian psychologist Laszlo Polgar wanted to test if talent was born or made. He ran an ad for a wife, but the twist is that their children would be raised to be champions in a field unrelated to their parents’ that neither had an aptitude for.
Schoolteacher Klara responded to the ad and agreed to the terms. Laszlo and Klara decided they would attempt to create chess champions since neither were accomplished in the game. They had three girls, Zsuzsa, Zsófia, and Judit and at that time it was the general belief that women didn’t have what it took to excel at chess. The couple home schooled their daughters, immersing them in intensive chess training.
In no time, the girls were competing in the game. The first daughter became the first chess grand master ever. The second daughter became the youngest grand master ever, male or female. And the third daughter is currently the number 1 ranked female player. According to Wikipedia, “Only 11 out of the world’s about 950 grandmasters [are female].”
Is this conclusive evidence that talent is made, not born? What are your thoughts? Is talent overrated?
Have you read?
Here is an excerpt from Did Malcolm Gladwell Rip Me Off? By Michael Masterson in Early to Rise Ezine.
“There are four levels of proficiency in any valuable skill – incompetence, competence, mastery, and virtuosity.
- To get past incompetence, you must spend about 1,000 hours practicing the skill you eventually want to master.
- After putting in about 1,000 hours, you will be competent. To achieve mastery, you will have to continue to practice that skill for a total of 5,000 hours.
- Virtuosity is extremely rare. You can’t get it simply by practicing. You must also have a natural gift. Even then, you must practice at least 10,000 hours to achieve it.
Michael Jordan was a virtuoso basketball player. Mozart was a virtuoso composer. Warren Buffett has been a virtuoso investor. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you must become a virtuoso. You can achieve greatness and make a fortune by becoming a master of your chosen skill.”
Final Thoughts: Talent Born Or Made?
If talent is made and not born, what are the implications for you? Are you interested in mastering a skill? Are you prepared to practice deliberately? Please chime in by commenting. Keep the conversation flowing.
UPDATE: First published in February 2010
Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody ElseThe Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.Peak: Secrets from the New Science of ExpertiseBounce Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, e a Ciência do Sucesso (Portuguese Edition)Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never WillThe Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be