“Even Mozart’s early abilities were not the product of some innate spiritual gift.”
That comment is from a NY Times op-ed by David Brooks, who adds, “His early compositions were nothing special. They were pastiches of other people’s work.
“Mozart was a good musician at an early age, but he would not stand out among today’s top child-performers.
“What Mozart had, we now believe, was the same thing Tiger Woods had — the ability to focus for long periods of time and a father intent on improving his skills.”
Previous research has confirmed that a high IQ in childhood is not a guarantee for eminence or creative productivity (Terman, 1925).
Researchers on gifted education and talent development assert that personality factors and motivation are the most important elements of creative achievement and distinguish creative producers from others.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced me-high chick-sent-me-high) writes, “The unifying similarity among geniuses and innovators is not cognitive or affective but motivational. What is common among them is the unwillingness or inability to strive for goals everyone else accepts, their refusal to live by a presented life theme.”
From article: Psychological Factors in the Development of Adulthood Giftedness from Childhood Talent, By Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, PhD.
Related article The Winning Edge, By Peter Doskoch [Psychology Today] – “We’re primed to think that talent is the key to success. But what counts even more is a fusion of passion and perseverance. In a world of instant gratification, grit may yield the biggest payoff of all.”
[For more on Csikszentmihalyi, see article: Creativity and Flow Psychology.]
Not necessarily inherent talents
Carol S. Dweck, PhD writes in an issue of the Duke Gifted Letter:
* Some people are born gifted, and others are not.
* You can tell who will be gifted from early on.
* Gifted children should be labeled and praised for their brains and talent.
“All of these statements are accepted by many as true. However, as evidence has accumulated over the past decade, another view has been gaining credence that portrays giftedness as a more dynamic quality that can grow or stagnate.
“With this outlook comes a shift in emphasis from how to identify gifted children to how to cultivate giftedness and talent—a change in focus from measurement psychology to cognitive and motivational psychology.
“Genius and great, creative contributions are the product of passion, learning, and persistence. More researchers are regarding motivation as the key ingredient for exceptional achievement.”
From post Carol Dweck on developing creative talent.
Carol Dweck is author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.