Talent vs. Hardwork

April 27, 2016
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There are two types of people in this world: the strivers and the naturally talented. The strivers are the ones who work hard for what they want to achieve. The naturally talented already have what it takes to achieve their goal. Although the debate of whether or not hard work is more important than talent has been around forever, there is no one definite answer.


“Practice makes perfect.” We’ve all heard that saying before, that we can accomplish anything if we keep practicing. But that’s not exactly true. Hard work can only take a person so far.


In a study done by Vanderbilt University researchers David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow, the educational and occupational accomplishments of more than 2,000 people that scored in the top 1% on the SAT by the age of 13 were tracked. Compared to the participants who were “only” in the 99.1 percentile for intellectual ability, those in the 99.9 percentile- the gifted- were between 3-5 times more likely to earn a doctorate, secure a patent, publish an article in a scientific journal or publish a literary work.


Another possibility: there might be a genetic component involved. Many people have a “talent” for rolling their tongues, while others lacking a certain gene can’t roll their tongues at all no matter how hard they try.
But having talent exclusively isn’t what will make a person successful. Perhaps the saying “practice makes perfect” is technically true. Research done by psychologist Anders Ericsson estimates that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. In a pioneering study, the Florida State University psychologist Anders Ericsson and his colleagues asked violin students at a music academy to estimate the amount of time they spent practicing since they started playing. By age 20, the students whom the faculty nominated as the “best” players had accumulated an average of over 10,000 hours, compared with just under 8,000 hours for the “good” players and not even 5,000 hours for the least-skilled. These results apply to mainly sports and music, but it also extends to activities such as business skills, learning to write well, driving, and more.


In his book, “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell observes that practice isn’t “the thing you do once you’re good” but “the thing you do that makes you good.”


Clearly, there are many different takes on this topic. Personally, I believe that hard work is much more important than talent. Unfortunately, science shows that talent has to play a part. The answer here? Talent pushes you further- we can’t deny that. But we also can’t deny that hard work takes a person just as far.






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