The Fundamental Four

Exploring the deepest motivational drives

Experts: Born or Made?

A response to the insinuation that ability is the end all and be all of expert performance. Read More

Both are needed, of course

Of course expertise requires both innate ability and sustained effort.

But tell this to many educators who - sadly - concentrate solely on average and lower ability students, casting aside the high ability students with the belief that "they will do just fine without any help".

These high ability students then languish in countless schools across the nation without the opportunity for practicing sustained effort in anything. This is especially true in inner cities, non-wealthy suburbs, and in poorer communities.

Will these high ability students become experts someday despite their suboptimal education? Those who are resilient enough to tolerate the boredom may. Those who are not resilient are just as likely to drop-out of school altogether and never achieve their potential. The burning disillusionment many suffer from being cast aside by the educational process often never lessens.

So why isn't society up in arms that these students are repeatedly and disgracefully "left-behind"?

two wrongs dont make a right

Agreed that a focus on gifted education should also be there, that shouldn't detract or come at the cost of 'normal' or 'special needs' education. There need not be a tradeoff when allocating resources or prioritizing both.
Whether it be with gifted, or normal or special needs people the myth that will be able to achieve or not achieve something in life solely on the basis of their abilities, needs to be crushed and exposed as early as possible.


Thank you for your reply & I so agree. Education needs to be individualized for each student and made ceiling-less to allow for all abilities to thrive and excel to the best of their ability. No one group should take up the majority of time nor money.

In addition, there needs to be far more acceptance of an educational system in which grouping by chronological age becomes an artifact. Grouping by ability and interest, with a strong safety net for the support of social/emotional/educational/medical needs, with a variety of elective paths is likely the most conducive to an enlightened and vigorous student body.

The questions that should be on the public's tongue when addressing a child are not "How old are you & what grade are you in?" but rather "What things do you love to learn about & what is the school doing to help you learn those things?"


I do believe that environment factors contribute more to a persons success. Genetics, on the other hand, make up our physical features, such as eyes or hair color. Once upon a time, when science was not as developed as it is now, people with colorful eyes were said that they can see better. They had better vision. That myth is a bust. Color eyes does not enhance extra sensory perception, but it sure looks good to have green or blue eyes. It has turned into a social and cultural cue than as a genetic enhancement. We still value those with green eyes, as oppose to someone with dark(thank God my dad has green eyes, lol).

So I believe the myth is busted. Our environment plays a huge role about our intelligence and how they will get impacted. For example, if you want to build muscle, you need to workout. If you want to learn how a stock is doing, you look it up. In my opinion, I believe poor people, or those in the lower-economic ladder, are very fortunate. Understand that over 600 years ago information and knowledge was as important as water. Those with high levels of information were likely obtained by leaders. That single control of information was enough to control natural resources, which were important during that age. Since many tyrannical regimes existed during that period of time, citizens in poorer communities had to chance to make it on top. Tha's why free speech is such a crucial concept for human advancement. Oncd upon a time CEO's had all the information, nowadays, you can learn as much as a CEO.

Is important to note that we are beginning to understand intelligence. I don't believe in EQ. I believe is as phony as environmental therapy. However, since emotional cues are universally accepted, meaning a smile is understood in the world, I can see why EQ has taken a huge role. But I don't believe it. I believe environmental intelligence(I don't think that's a word) is more relevant than before. Our understanding of our environment and how that information is shared is important in how we shape and perceive the world. For example, the perception that the GOP cares about the rich than the poor is an intelligence based on factors shared through our environment, like giving tax breaks to companies. Or the perception that hard work pays off as long as you continue to put effort and motivation, with examples of individuals like Steve Jobs(RIP). There is always something out there that influences our intelligence, and ultimately, ourselves.

Is prevelant in every society. And that understanding, from the way our parents taught us to believe in God to the ability to want to wanna play basketball for the very first time, is how our intelligence gets built, and ultimately, how much we learn something about it. Your genetics can't tell you how much we are in debt, but your environment can.

Debt- lovely last sentence

yes, we owe a debt of paying-it-forward to others/ our children of what we received from our parents/ others- an that as you rightly pointed out is not just passing our genes, but passing on the right motivations and values/ enriched environment etc for our children/ others.
the notion of being in debt is very complex thing that people rarely appreciate, although its supposed to be a major guiding principle of a Hindu's way of life - being indebted to our parents/ direct line of ancestors is one of the debts and supposed to be repaid by giving birth ourselves. Although that may seem to highlight a genetic mindset, a closer reading of Hinduism confirms that its more about giving to our children all the love and environmental stuff that we got from our parents.
Read more about the debts/ rins here:

Factors Involved With Task Performance

There are probably three factors involved with the quality of task-performance. Those would be A) inherited talent, B) method and C) effort.

Where A and B are equal between two performers, then the greater C would produce the better performance. When B and C are equal, then the greater A would produce the better performance, and so on.

Hitting a baseball is a task which we can learn from because statisticians have measured performance for more than a century. There are several advanced stats devoted to it.

The inherited factor A would include such things as size, strength and athletic talent. Factor B would include the method-technique-mechanics of the swing. Factor C would include the amount of practice time devoted to perfecting the swing.

It's my impression that method is a very strong factor in this task because there have been several examples of professional players who improved their performances dramatically by adopting a better method.

I speculate that these three factors, talent, method and effort, are involved with most tasks, but they will vary in importance from task to task.

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Sandeep Gautam is a software developer and psychology enthusiast.


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