Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice

The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice | Beautiful Minds, Scientific American Blog Network:

David Z. Hambrick and colleagues found that deliberate practice explained about 30% of the variation in performance in the two most widely studied domains in expertise research– chess and music (Hambrick et al., 2013). On the one hand, this is a very impressive amount of variation explained. Clearly, deliberate practice matters a lot, perhaps trumping any other single personal characteristic. But at the same time, most of the variation was left unexplained by other personal and environmental factors.
But if we dig even deeper, we can see more complications. What is the genetic contribution to the willingness to practice in the first place? While passion and persistence are certainly important for greatness, where do these characteristics come from (Cordova & Lepper, 1996; Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, Michael, & Kelly, 2007; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Kaufman, 2009, Vallerand et al., 2003)? Behavioral geneticists have discovered that virtually all psychological dispositions have a heritable basis (Turkheimer, 2000). Therefore, motivation and the ability to persevere and persist in the face of obstacles are likely influenced (although not completely determined) by genetic factors, which are always interacting with environmental factors."
What has become clear is that the 10-year rule is not actually a rule, but an average with significant variation around the mean.
The topic of greatness is one of the most fascinating in all of psychology and has relevance for every single human being on this planet. As it turns out, the truth is far more nuanced, complex, and fascinating than any one viewpoint or paradigm can possibly reveal. It’s time to go beyond talent or practice. Greatness is much, much more.

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