“The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong,” is a new book by David Shenk, who takes the position that “Talents are not innate gifts but the result of a slow, invisible accretion of skills developed over time.” Few are genetically handed greatness, fully formed, and 100% gift wrapped. Even fewer are biologically restricted from attaining greatness.
Intelligence is more a process than a fixed given. The critical difference between success and failure, between achievers and non-achievers, lies with a broken link in their process:
“…non-achievers seem to be missing something in their process—one or more aspects of style of
– intensity of practice, or technique, or
– mindset, or
– response to failure.”
Anders Ericsson’s powerful concept of deliberate practice** is covered, as well as Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours (from “Outliers”: It takes 10,000 hours of work/practice/effort to become good at anything).
“The Genius in All of Us” makes the important point that developing talent should not be left to parents alone, that every society that wishes to strive should foster values that bring out the best in people. The down side of our culture of entitlement is obvious. We promote lottery tickets as the path to prosperity and somehow it has become the unspoken birthright of every American to experience freedom from poverty or want without the responsibility of work. Sort of like the “right” to good health via expensive health care without having to exercise or practice good nutrition habits.
**Deliberate practice, Cliffs Notes version: 1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome (accept the process), 2. Set specific, measurable, quantifiable goals, 3. Get PROMPT feedback from knowledgeable people; APPLY it immediately.