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posted by martyb on Monday September 29 2014, @06:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the n(a|ur)ture dept.

What makes someone rise to the top in music, games, sports, business, or science? This question is the subject of one of psychology’s oldest debates. In the late 1800s, Francis Galton—founder of the scientific study of intelligence and a cousin of Charles Darwin—analyzed the genealogical records of hundreds of scholars, artists, musicians, and other professionals and found that greatness tends to run in families. For example, he counted more than 20 eminent musicians in the Bach family. (Johann Sebastian was just the most famous.) Galton concluded that experts are “born.” Nearly half a century later, the behaviorist John Watson countered that experts are “made” when he famously guaranteed that he could take any infant at random and “train him to become any type of specialist [he] might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents.”

The experts-are-made view has dominated the discussion in recent decades. To test this idea, Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and colleagues recruited violinists from an elite Berlin music academy and asked them to estimate the amount of time per week they had devoted to deliberate practice for each year of their musical careers. Based on these findings, Ericsson and colleagues argued that prolonged effort, not innate talent, explained differences between experts and novices. These findings filtered their way into pop culture. They were the inspiration for what Malcolm Gladwell termed the “10,000 Hour Rule” ( http://gladwell.com/outliers/the-10000-hour-rule/ ) in his book Outliers.

However, recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece. In the first study ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201516 ) to convincingly make this point, the cognitive psychologists Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli found that chess players differed greatly in the amount of deliberate practice they needed to reach a given skill level in chess. For example, the number of hours of deliberate practice to first reach “master” status (a very high level of skill) ranged from 728 hours to 16,120 hours. This means that one player needed 22 times more deliberate practice than another player to become a master.

In concrete terms, what this evidence means is that racking up a lot of deliberate practice is no guarantee that you’ll become an expert. Other factors matter.

[Related Abstract]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=(Macnamara+and+Hambrick)

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @06:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @06:26PM (#99709)

    No matter how much I practice swimming, I'm never going to be world-class swimmer - my body is wrong for it. Same for a lot of sports.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/09/158448224/olympic-bodies-they-just-dont-make-them-like-they-used-to [npr.org]
    http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/olympics/olympic-physiques-michael-phelps-usain-bolt-athletes-built/story?id=16917476 [go.com]

    • (Score: 1) by Dunbal on Monday September 29 2014, @06:51PM

      by Dunbal (3515) on Monday September 29 2014, @06:51PM (#99723)

      However if you practice swimming you will eventually be as good as you can be, and certainly much better than you are now.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @08:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @08:05PM (#99750)

        > However if you practice swimming you will eventually be as good as you can be, and certainly much better than you are now.

        Bingo!

        Think of your potential as a glass - you can only pour so much water into a glass until it starts overflowing and is wasted. But if you don't pour enough into it, your glass will never be full. I think this analogy applies to pretty much every endeavour in life.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday September 29 2014, @08:58PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:58PM (#99766) Journal

          Being granted only one lifetime, we do not have the ability to become competent in everything, and it makes sense to pick and choose amongst those things you have some innate ability to do.

          John Watson countered that experts are “made” when he famously guaranteed that he could take any infant at random and “train him to become any type of specialist [he] might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents.”

          This is either false or makes a lot of assumptions about what is meant by "any random" ("any random person of 100 or better IQ" for example). You aren't going to turn somebody with severe mental retardation into a doctor, you aren't going to turn someone born without functioning legs into a pro-basketball player. While it is nice for people to think they can become anything they want to, it isn't a _useful_ belief if they are pursing something that is either actually beyond their capabilities, or they spend so much time on something they innately suck at, that they neglect developing the skills and talents that will keep them fed and sheltered.

        • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Monday September 29 2014, @10:10PM

          by Dunbal (3515) on Monday September 29 2014, @10:10PM (#99798)

          And continuing your analogy, everyone is born with a different sized glass although most of us are somewhere around the average, some people are exceptional.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by cafebabe on Monday September 29 2014, @08:13PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:13PM (#99751) Journal

      There are limitations but you'd be surprised what can be achieved with dedication. After 13 months of practice, I can perform a standing back-handspring on an airtrack with a mat to aid me. (See here [youtube.com] and here [youtube.com] for example equipment and usage.) Some people achieve a standing back-handspring within a month. Others take 18 months. Most give up. Annoyingly, in the past month, I coached a newbie through many of my varied mistakes and he achieved a triple back-handspring on an airtrack in two weeks. I hope to achieve similar before Christmas.

      Anyhow, I find it believable that the time to achieve mastery may vary by a factor of 22. Indeed, from my experience, it may be an under-estimate.

      --
      1702845791×2
      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Friday October 03 2014, @09:02PM

        by cafebabe (894) on Friday October 03 2014, @09:02PM (#101519) Journal

        After 13 months of practice, I can perform a standing back-handspring on an airtrack with a mat to aid me.

        This week, I can do it without a mat. At this rate, I expect approach that newbie's ability within the month and surpass it by Christmas.

        --
        1702845791×2
  • (Score: 1) by mcgrew on Monday September 29 2014, @06:26PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @06:26PM (#99710) Homepage Journal

    Like a sandwich, it's obviously both natural-born talent AND practice. There is no way I could possibly become a professional athlete; but there's no way that you're getting on any major league team without tons of practice no matter the amount of your natural ability.

    If little Johnny practices his baseball skills, he will improve, but few get good enough to become professionals.

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday September 29 2014, @06:44PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday September 29 2014, @06:44PM (#99720)

      You could have put a "spoiler's alert"!
      Now there's no point in me reading all these stories, you've ruined the ending... Did you get lots of grants to do that meta-study?

      (by the way, what's obvious for sports is also true for precision physical skills and mental exercise)

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday September 30 2014, @02:06AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @02:06AM (#99866) Homepage

      Aside from the question of whether one has the talent... a slight correction to the hoary quote:

      "Practice doesn't make perfect. *Perfect* practice makes perfect."
        -- Charlie Lau, in his capacity as a hitting instructor in major-league baseball

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by TrumpetPower! on Monday September 29 2014, @06:37PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @06:37PM (#99715) Homepage

    If you want to truly master something, you're going to have to work long and hard at it, no matter what. But some people are going to be more efficient at the process of mastery than others.

    What this means is that somebody with a lot of talent will either be able to become one of the best of the best in a particular field, or will be able to become very good (or even just "good enough") in one or more fields and still have plenty of resources left for other things. Somebody with not much talent may still be capable of great success, but only at the cost of the kind of effort that would propel the talented to the top of a field -- and with nothing left in reserve.

    It's also the case that the type of dedication needed to succeed in any field doesn't appear to be something that everybody is capable of. For true success, you need both the talent that saves you from having to work as hard to achieve results, and you need the ability to dedicate yourself to the task even though it's not as difficult for you as it is for your peers. Whatever its origins, the ability to dedicate one's self is also not universal and doesn't seem particularly malleable...though there are exceptions, for the most part, if you haven't truly thrown yourself at something by the time you're in your mid to late teens, chances are good you're never really going to throw yourself at anything.

    Cheers,

    b&

    --
    All but God can prove this sentence true.
  • (Score: 1) by zugedneb on Monday September 29 2014, @06:53PM

    by zugedneb (4556) on Monday September 29 2014, @06:53PM (#99724)

    In our heads, we have something like pattern generators... They can be trained, but in some they are more evolved, more crosslinked than in others. Some react more emotionally to internal input than other, so they are motivated to toy around more with stuff in their head, so they become adept at building and maintaining mental objects...
    Yet again, if some person does not react emotionally to the own visions and phantasies, not much time will be spent toying around with them...

    People who are good at writing show or theatre manuscripts can generate stories involving human entities...
    Manga artists can generate (learn to use?) body language and expressions fitting some situations they come up with.
    Directors can generate a mood in a film... I understand the basic psychology of music and lighting, and I also understand that I would suck as a director :D
    Music I could make, if I can be sufficiently algorithmic. The only type of music I can generate in my head is minimalistic hard rance, or some old style 8bit game music, and such... Possibly jazz...
    Have no talent in scripting, or painting...

    Many times, I did thought about how Stephen King can live with the stuff going on in his head...
    If I would have the neural circuitry that would generate visions on his level, I would ask for a lobotomy...

    --
    old saying: "a troll is a window into the soul of humanity" + also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Zipf on Monday September 29 2014, @07:31PM

      by Zipf (2400) on Monday September 29 2014, @07:31PM (#99737)

      > Some react more emotionally to internal input than other[s]

      Isn't this the sign of poor breeding?

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday September 29 2014, @09:41PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:41PM (#99784) Journal

      Many times, I did thought about how Stephen King can live with the stuff going on in his head...

      Maybe the way to live with such stuff in your head is to write it down.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @06:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @06:56PM (#99725)

    Send in your scoop, people, to avoid crap post like this.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @10:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @10:46PM (#99814)

      submit your article or shut up

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30 2014, @01:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30 2014, @01:06AM (#99852)

        Shut the fuck up, AC fucktard.

  • (Score: 2) by BradTheGeek on Monday September 29 2014, @07:03PM

    by BradTheGeek (450) on Monday September 29 2014, @07:03PM (#99729)

    Nature AND Nurture both play a role. The importance of each depends on the trait and the individual. Surprise, surprise.

    • (Score: 1) by Lazarus on Monday September 29 2014, @07:25PM

      by Lazarus (2769) on Monday September 29 2014, @07:25PM (#99735)

      >Nature AND Nurture both play a role.

      Yep, and this is obvious to those of us with natural talent in a particular area. I can easily pick up programming languages, and most of the time software or mechanical problem-solving is effortless, but I'm terrible at learning to play music or learning spoken languages. I'm sure I could gain ground in those areas, but it's a struggle, and natural talent in some areas has caused me to never learn to struggle to gain skills that are more difficult for me to learn.

      • (Score: 1) by lizardloop on Tuesday September 30 2014, @11:48AM

        by lizardloop (4716) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @11:48AM (#99945) Journal

        Exactly the same situation here. I can pick up different programming languages with ease. But despite having spent most of my life trying to play different musical instruments I am just utterly useless at it. The final straw was when I bought a keyboard and started trying to learn to play that. After a week of hard practice I could hardly play anything. A musically talented friend of mine sat down at it and within 10 minutes was competently playing the theme tunes to many popular TV shows purely from memory. At that point I realised I was never going to be any good at it and decided to stop the music practice and just stick to what I'm good at... hacking out code.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday September 29 2014, @07:18PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday September 29 2014, @07:18PM (#99733)

    My favorite least understood conceptual difference is between education and training, and I suspect this is a rephrasing or at least a good analogy.

    Anybody can train up to any level WRT environment and quantity of practice, but their natural born brain power is likely the limiter for education.

    Many (most?) human activities are a mix of both.

    I can do a really poor job of playing the flute (true story) and practice does really help but there are natural born issues WRT fingertip dexterity and reflex that set the max educational level of a flute player. (There is also tolerance of BS in general and specifically dance like standards of showmanship but that's another matter). On a side topic related to weird gender ratios did you know that below age 18 no boys play the flute and above age 18 no women play the flute? Strange but true. Not all lopsided gender ratios are constant like they are in IT/CS/EE

    Carpentry is another obvious analogy, theres no replacement for practice, but if you don't have the mental 3-d spacial skills to figure out how to cut a finger joint or the other weirder wood joints, well, sorry it just aint happenin' no matter how much firewood you make, other than by pure luck.

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday September 29 2014, @08:21PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:21PM (#99753) Journal

      On a side topic related to weird gender ratios did you know that below age 18 no boys play the flute and above age 18 no women play the flute? Strange but true. Not all lopsided gender ratios are constant like they are in IT/CS/EE

      That's odd. I know one case of each which supports your theory.

      Carpentry is another obvious analogy, theres no replacement for practice, but if you don't have the mental 3-d spacial skills to figure out how to cut a finger joint or the other weirder wood joints, well, sorry it just aint happenin' no matter how much firewood you make, other than by pure luck.

      I could be wrong but I am under the impression that the ability to cut two 45° lines without measurement and form a 90° corner is innate and not inherited. A friend of my father was never able to do it professionally but his son learned it quite quickly.

      --
      1702845791×2
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @09:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @09:04PM (#99769)

        "innate" and "not inherited" are mutually exclusive.

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Monday September 29 2014, @09:14PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:14PM (#99774)

          Not at all - plenty of environmental influences affect the way in which your brain and body develops before birth, it's not all determined by the genes you inherited. There's also almost certainly a chaotic element to an embryo's development - for example DNA provides a general pattern to guide neuron development, but whether a particular brain cell divides horizontally or vertically as a fetal brain develops might well influence the innate aptitudes of the final brain.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Monday September 29 2014, @09:05PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:05PM (#99771)

        What makes you so quick to assume that such a skill wasn't inherited? Clearly it wasn't inherited from the father, but presumably the son also had a mother who provided over half of his genetic material and may have had a similar innate ability even if she never exercised it (and we don't know, do we - you never mentioned her at all). Or neither parent had the ability, but it was bestowed by the way their genes combined - after all it's perfectly possible to inherit traits that neither parent possessed, and recessive traits are only the simplest and most obvious example.

        Not that I'm claiming all innate abilities are inherited, I'm just pointing out the giant hole in your logic. After all we know perfectly well that environmental effects both pre- and post-natal, not to mention pre-conception can all influence the ways in which a person's physiology develops, and there's probably a certain chaotic element to the development even if environmental factors could be perfectly controlled for: it's very unlikely that DNA contains a blueprint that determines every neural connection the fetus forms, there is a non-deterministic element to development as well. And then there's the whole soul thing if you're inclined to believe the body is host to a metaphysical inhabitant.

        • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday September 29 2014, @09:43PM

          by cafebabe (894) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:43PM (#99786) Journal

          I am under the impression that carpenters either have the skill or they don't. If a man is similar to his father in build and temperament and follows his father into carpentry, it does not follow that he has the aptitude to cut wood by eye.

          --
          1702845791×2
          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Monday September 29 2014, @10:55PM

            by Immerman (3985) on Monday September 29 2014, @10:55PM (#99817)

            True. But I was speaking to your original statement, where you said the son had the ability but the father did not. That doesn't mean the ability wasn't inherited - after all a superficial resemblance to the father doesn't obviate the fact that over half his genetic inheritance comes from his mother, even if it's not necessarily as obvious. Perhaps his mother would have been an astounding carpenter had she been so inclined. For that matter it doesn't even mean that he didn't inherit the skill from his father - it could be that his father had some other genes that suppressed the ability, but that those fell in the 50% of his genes that his weren't passed on to his son. Genetics is otoriously slippery, and the difference between a person's genotype (their DNA) and their phenotype (the way that DNA ends up getting expressed) can be immense.

        • (Score: 1) by linuxrocks123 on Tuesday September 30 2014, @07:04AM

          by linuxrocks123 (2557) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @07:04AM (#99907) Journal

          The mother provides "over half" of the genetic material? My impression was it was exactly half, you know, 23 chromosomes from father, 23 from mother. Why do you say "over half"? Are you counting mitochondrial DNA?

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday September 30 2014, @03:19PM

            by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @03:19PM (#100025)

            Mitochondrial DNA, plus the fact that the Y chromosome from his father contains a bit less DNA that the X chromosome from his mother.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday September 30 2014, @11:47AM

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday September 30 2014, @11:47AM (#99944)

        "cut two 45° lines without measurement and form a 90° corner"

        LOL the noob miter joint. Well, its a step above a mere butt joint (just kinda lining them up and pounding nails in). Those are actually very hard to make if you want perfect 90 degree corners and zero gap and don't cheat by bending the boards to make the joints fit (aka picture frame style cheating)

        I suppose it would be possible to flip a board over and cut a miter backwards.

        I was thinking of the more complicated stuff. Dovetail joints and finger joints and stuff like that. Its way to easy to cut something shaped the right way but "out of phase" or cut WRT the wrong edges.

        The hard "3d spatial" part of a dovetail joint isn't so much shaping it correctly, but consistently ending up with two boardscorrect side up and correct side to front.

        Its the wood version of the software picket fence bug (the old "is this one indexed or zero indexed and does my pointer point to the current item or the next item" and its a cousin of some stereotypical buffer overflow problems)

        • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Wednesday October 01 2014, @03:49PM

          by cafebabe (894) on Wednesday October 01 2014, @03:49PM (#100505) Journal

          LOL the noob miter joint. Well, its a step above a mere butt joint (just kinda lining them up and pounding nails in). Those are actually very hard to make if you want perfect 90 degree corners and zero gap and don't cheat by bending the boards to make the joints fit (aka picture frame style cheating)

          I am under the impression that some people have a talent for making miter joints without measurement whereas a professional carpenter with 20 years of experience may not be able to do it. It doesn't seem to be related to genetics or temperament. It just seems to be the way that different people view the world.

          I can appreciate that dovetail joints and suchlike are spatial problems with off-by-one bugs. There are similar problems with clothesmaking. Indeed, when working with patterns or fur, there is the common problem of selecting the best part of the material to create the most impressive visual effect.

          --
          1702845791×2
          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday October 01 2014, @05:26PM

            by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 01 2014, @05:26PM (#100549)

            I can see three issues

            One is education. I've talked to "real carpenters" who went thru apprenticeship programs and the like and they're mystified by things like basic trigonometry and especially constructive geometry. "How do you know your 90 degree angles are 90s other than lots of guess and check and scrap?" and what boils down to "i donno how to bisect an angle" and "i donno pythagorean theorem to prove squareness" and stuff like that. Basically a lot of things I know how to design and calculate, they have to guess and check and they often get it wrong. Also experience in other crafts. You'd be amazed at the crazy stuff some guys will do to figure out exactly how wide their saw kerf actually cuts as opposed to mfgrs estimate, and I'm like, pick up the inside digital caliper from the shelf next to the metal lathe and just measure it? And they're all puzzled because they don't do metalworking and don't have the tools. How do I measure the height of my table saw blade? And I'm all, take the height gauge off your surface plate in the metalworking shop and just measure it in about 3 seconds?

            The second I can think of is some guys are just naturals at fitting. So rather than build to spec they build to match the other part and it really confuses guys brought up to build to the print. Theres a very specific order that operations have to be done in but you can technically cut some wood joints with no paper and pencil measurement at all, but it has to be done in certain order. This could look very mysterious.

            The third thing I can think of is you are totally correct about the clothesmaking analogy. Its really easy when building a box or drawer to end up with two left sleeves or one sleeve sewed on upside down or all the button holes are off by exactly 1/2 length too low or something.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MrGuy on Monday September 29 2014, @08:25PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:25PM (#99754)

    The 10,000 hour rule study always seemed suspicious to me. In the study (as I understood it), they found a strong correlation between "this person practiced more/less" and "this person was judged to be a superior player."

    The "causal" linkage was inferred from this - "practicing more causes one to become better."

    But that's ignoring a fundamental question - WHY do some students practice more than others? The (rather simplistic) assumption behind the causal linkage inference is that students randomly select an amount of practice time to put in, independent of any other factor (e.g. innate talent). Some just happen to have more time/inclination to practice, and those who "just happen" to invest more time attain more mastery.

    That assumption is highly suspect to me, and therefore the "causal" linkage is as well. For example, students that have more innate talent may enjoy practicing more - someone who can make really good violin music might WANT to practice more. Also, "ability to master" might also drive more practice - students who are able to hear themselves get better over time might be more driven to want to practice more (because they get more of the satisfaction that comes from KNOWING you're playing the difficult piece better each time) than students who don't experience as many "Oh! I get it!" moments.

    The study does NOT show that "practicing more is the CAUSE of mastery." Just that it's observed that "practice time" and "level of achievement" tend to go together. Whether one causes the other, or whether there's a separate factor (e.g. innate talent) that CAUSES both of those factors to move together, can't reasonably be concluded from the study.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Monday September 29 2014, @09:35PM

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 29 2014, @09:35PM (#99781)
      What you're describing sounds to me like "interest level". I could memorize an anatomy book and possibly pass a few medical school tests, but since I have no particular love of medicine I'd never study it in the way that I'd start to understand it on a fundamental level. I'll put it another way, when I started my career I had a clear idea of what it was I wanted to do. When I finally got into the industry I was pushed sideways into a different specialty. Now I thrive! Talent? Maybe. But when I look back to all of the literature I studied to get into this industry I realized that I was paying a good deal more attention to topics related to what I do now and NOT the topica relating to what I had actually set out to do. I liked the latter more, it just hadn't occurred to me that I could do it for a living! I do find it weird that there was a disconnect between what I wanted to do and what I *really* wanted to do, and I suspect many others are in that boat. I'm just not certain that it's necessarily 'talent'. Hell, my dad went from computer illiteracy to damn-near-sysadmin once he discovered internet porn!
      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Monday September 29 2014, @08:57PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:57PM (#99765)

    It takes:
    1. Aptitude - innate ability to do something. If you're a drooling moron, you're not going to make it as a doctor. If you're 4'10", you aren't going to play professional basketball.

    2. Practice - to turn your aptitude into skill that you can do unconsciously. If you don't practice, you're never going to be among the best, because practice does demonstrably make you better.

    3. Opportunity - you have to be in a situation where your skills matter. Serena Williams, with no professional tennis system, is a woman with a really cool hobby. Weird Al Yankovic would be just some funny guy around town if Dr Demento hadn't been around. Neil Armstrong would have been an unheralded test pilot had NASA never existed.

    A lot of people understand aptitude and practice. Very few pay much attention to opportunity, because it's the one area where each person as individuals has no real control. And it makes a huge difference in your life e.g. a top notch manager who never gets a management position or the capital to start their own business will never succeed in business.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday September 29 2014, @09:50PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:50PM (#99790) Journal

      Very few pay much attention to opportunity, because it's the one area where each person as individuals has no real control.

      You may not have full control about opportunity, but you do have some: An opportunity often only opens up for you if you recognize it.

      OTOH on aptitude you have no control at all. OK, except for killing it; if you cut your leg off, you'll never become a professional basketball player afterwards.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30 2014, @01:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30 2014, @01:43PM (#99989)

      It takes expert, determined practice, with a fair amount of thinking about improvement during off hours. Lots of people spend plenty of time and money on their golf games and never get much better.

      Coaching can help, but coaching sessions are only as good as the pupil. Most of the best university students aren't the ones who had the benefit of expensive private tutors hired by their parents.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @09:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @09:25PM (#99778)
    If this were true...a lot of you guys would be sex gods/experts.
  • (Score: 1) by theronb on Monday September 29 2014, @09:34PM

    by theronb (2596) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:34PM (#99780)

    I've seen plenty of amateur musicians who've played the same crap the same way for years and never improved. Comments here have argued nature versus nurture, but some good instruction is essential, too. Absent that, practice often devolves into chasing one's tail.

  • (Score: 1) by crAckZ on Monday October 13 2014, @12:50AM

    by crAckZ (3501) on Monday October 13 2014, @12:50AM (#105361) Journal

    This has been debated for centuries. Some of the theories began in the 1920's with Jean Piaget's theories of "nature vs nurture." Before Piaget, people believed that whatever was taught to a child, would shape the exact person he/she would become. His (Piaget) "nature" was described as human stages of development and that all humans go through these stages at a similar rate, however, this rate is determined by the "nurture" aspect of parenting. Piaget made the observation that a parent could teach a child only so much and it was up to the child to do with it what he/she feels. This would be proven over many years of dictating parents and children not turning out exactly as planned.Piaget concluded that after teaching children over an 18 year span of childhood, the children were not taught completely, but that they developed a personality based on both birth characteristics and environmental factors.

    Discussing the theory of experts are made, when "Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and colleagues recruited violinists from an elite Berlin music academy and asked them to estimate the amount of time per week they had devoted to deliberate practice for each year of their musical careers," the results would favor the amount of practice times as a factor, since the subjects are already predetermined to favor the musical ability (nature). If we were to connect this theory with Francis Galton's," infant at random" idea, and take an infant from a family background of musicians and train him to become a professional baseball player, it would be covering only the nurture part of the equation with baseball and combining it with a natural musical inclination.