Even in Geniuses, Hard Work Trumps IQ

Latest research says greatness more due to sweat than brains
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2009 9:25 AM CDT
"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," Brooks writes.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In today’s scientific age, research suggests that genius isn’t a “hard-wired” trait, writes David Brooks in the New York Times: instead, it suggests “a more prosaic, democratic, even puritanical” perspective. Greatness may start with “slightly above average” talent, but what counts is thousands of hours of hard work. “It’s not who you are, it’s what you do,” one expert observes in a recent book on the subject.

Brooks cites an example of a girl with a driving ambition to be a writer. Equipped with “a desperate need for success,” she makes an established author her role model, devours books, and begins “painstaking and error-focused” writing practice. A mentor provides intense scrutiny. “The primary trait she possesses is not some mysterious genius," Brooks contends. "It’s the ability to develop a deliberate, strenuous, and boring practice routine.”