Born or Made??

in #writing4 years ago

It is a common observation that some people are just more talented than their peers. The way they do things, approach problems and appreciate success puts them in a special category when compared with the way the general population does these things. Whether in academics, the Armed Forces, the management world or any sphere of human endeavor, they show the class and vision that few people can dream of possessing.

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These people are known as geniuses.

While it will be absolutely foolhardy to deny the fact that geniuses exist, there are considerable differences and disagreements on what makes a given individual a genius: some experts believe that ingenuity is an in-born trait while others believe that the individual's contributions far outweigh any special talents he might have been endowed with.


The purpose of this post is to consider both sides' arguments and also examine the lives of some people regarded as 'born-geniuses' to see what set them apart from their mates and, ultimately take sides with either of the experts' opinions.


Here in Nigeria,many people consider a genius to be that person that does so little and achieves so much-he doesn't attend classes yet ends up understanding the topic better than those that did, he doesn't read (he just scans through his notes and does some calculations a few days to the exams!) and scores a 95A, and he assimalates faster and retains better than all his classmates combined!


While the above description of a genius is a little bit exaggerated, few will doubt the fact that this view of geniuses is the most common in Nigeria. To many people, a person that works hard to attain flying grades is just a 'normal student' whose only redeeming quality is his hardworking attitude. If not for the fact that he reads well, he won't even pass his exams, many will say!


Of course, being a genius involves more than passing examinations (and being academically sound,for that matter!) but we shall use the academic field because most of us are much more familiar with it than other fields.


*So what is the truth-are geniuses born or made?*


A simple analysis of the lives of a few geniuses 

will help us arrive at a reasonably sensible answer.


W.F. Mozart, the renowned music composer, is regarded as a child prodigy. It is believed that he started composing at the age of eight and that he was one of the greatest-ever born-geniuses. However, a new study of Mozart's life revealed that while it is true that Mozart started composing at an early age, none of his early works was outstanding! His greatest pieces were composed towards the end of his life when it is generally agreed that he had had enough practice.


Tiger Woods, the famous golfer is another 'born-genius, Woods, unlike Mozart, attained stardom at an early age, but if we go by his autobiography in which he claimed that ever since his seventh birthday, he never practised playing golf for less than six hours in a day, it won't be difficult to appreciate the fact that he did his fair share of hardwork before becoming an undisputed genius.


Finally turning to Queen Victoria's 'boy', William Shakespeare, written records show that Shakespeare's earliest writings were ordinary. It was not until much later in his life that he was able to produce world-class writings. By this time,he too should have worked hard enough to master the art of story-telling.


To add a scientific edge to our argument, the BBC's 'Panorama' reported on the work of psychologists from the Colorado University. In their research lasting over six years, they examined the careers of over one hundred geniuses and arrived at a magic number-before any of the geniuses started exhibiting true genius-like qualities, he had worked in his chosen field for at least 10,000 hours. This magic time of 10,000 hours kept creeping up throughout their research. This led them to believe that there is a minimal amount of effort which an individual must apply, irrespective of his inborn gifts, before becoming a genius.


Although it is true that each individual is endowed to different levels, it is no less true that regardless of how gifted you are, you have to work your way to becoming a genius. So maybe the agelong saying that being a genius is 99% perspiration (hardwork) and 1% inspiration (natural talent) is true afterall!


Hence it will do you much good to change your negative perception of what it takes to be a genius because,who knows, you might have the potential to be a genius but fail to be one because you are too lazy?


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