Sunday, June 28, 2009

Talent, Inherent or Acquired

My brother-in-law is a poet. He's a good one. Although he didn't win, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry. In addition to being a poet, he's a teacher of poetry.

I met my brother-in-law when he was thirteen. He didn't look like a poet to me. I didn't even see in him the seeds of a future poet. I also met Lew Alcindor, later Kareem Abdul Jabaar, when he was thirteen. He looked like a basketball player. Plus he was great even at that age. Beethoven and Mozart were both great musicians before the age of five. Tiger Woods showed signs of superstardom at age four.

On the other hand Einstein wasn't very good at math. Marilyn Monroe, from what I hear, (I can't remember where I heard it) was a gawky teenager. Michael Jordan didn't show great ability until he got to college. What is the source of greatness?

It seems that talent is inherent but in order for it to blossom it needs to be cultivated. This requires hard work and good training. What about business? Is there a business gene that you are born with? I don't think so. I think anyone can learn to be successful at business. (Read Fortune Magazines Secret of Greatness) What's difficult is to develop the motivation to deal with the ridiculousness that's required. This ability probably takes a gene in itself.

It has always seemed unfair to me that the abilities that were required to be successful in business were often opposed to those that were required to be truly creative or talented in a special way. I guess that's where agents come in.

It is the existence of true talent that gives me hope for the world. We will not be saved by stock brokers or insurance agents or even advertising moguls. If you have any question about the existence of true talent check this video out.

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