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The intersection of practice, ability and talent is sometimes more complex than the short summary given in this collection of thoughts.  Some areas take certain traits.  World class butterfly takes a genetic knee quirk found in 1% of the population -- but you can reach national level competition without that quirk.

Professional pitchers in baseball almost all have 20/10 vision, but college world series pitchers don't necessarily have that kind of vision.  Professional female beach volleyball players have the "kangaroo" build at the world class level.  But all sorts of people play championship volleyball and soccer at the national level with great success.

Pro basketball centers have to be tall, but my dad at 5'6" was the center of his high school team.

You can succeed in a profession or in a sport that matches your body, and by reaching the Spirit by continued practice.  To succeed in life takes only practice and effort, properly applied.

Being an outlier, being brilliant, is a temptation to try to succeed without intentional, deliberative practice.  It can cause  you to think differently than others and can create alienation and disjunction.

Properly adjusted to, brilliance can be positive.  Most people who think they are talented or brilliant just have the advantage of modest talent and a great deal of practice.  Others have a preternatural spike in an area that has little application (such as shooting a rifle).

But if you really have a brilliant child, these are the standard risks and pitfalls:

  • Your child may cover up holes in skills, training or ability with brilliance.

  • Your child may skimp on practice.

  • Your child may become socially alienated.  Geniuses with bad interpersonal skills are a stock figure in literature, but brilliant people who have failed in life because of a lack of personal skills are a tragic waste of potential.

  • Your child may fail to believe in themselves because of the side effects of the holes they cover up with brilliance, the effects of a lack of practice or the results of alienation.

  • Your child may find amusements that are as important to them as the real world.

This essay is my part in trying to help people avoid these problems for their children.  There is no reason why brilliance should keep your child from a happy and successful life.

Caveats * Copyright 2009, 2011 Stephen R. Marsh * Terms of use * Old Blog Materials

Copyright 1999-2009  Stephen R. Marsh
All rights Reserved

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