The book looks at a lot of recent studies that show intelligence to be a combination of genetics as well as environment and that the interaction of these two influences is effected by the amount of hard work that is put into developing skills that we may be born with or seek to develop but which will lay dormant if they are not worked upon.
In other words the old saying “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” is not too far from the mark.
The key thing is in discovering what it is that we want to develop. As the article says we are not all born to become Cristian Ronaldo and do amazing things with a football in front of thousands of fans. But then again Cristiano may have had an innate talent that was developed by his environment that celebrated and promoted soccer as against another sport that he may have had ability to develop in if he had worked as hard as he did to develop his skills in football.
I am, as readers of this blog will know, a great admirer of the work and writings of Sir Ken Robinson and in particular of his book “The Element” where he explains how we each need to find what our passion is and what thing we want to develop in our life.
If we find our passion then the hard work to develop our skills in it does not seem like a chore, but hard work there must be if we are to truly develop our talents to the full.
Shenk is right, we all have some sort of genius within us if we are able to find the thing that is our “element” and then work hard to develop it to the best of our ability. The tragedy is that, throughout history the majority of us have never found what our passion is or had the opportunity to develop it to the full.
The world is a poorer place because of all of that waste but more importantly, can we afford to not have the talents that we have within us developed to the full if we are to survive as a species in these traumatic times with the many challenges that we face ahead?