Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nature v. Nurture

One thing we often ponder – and that our conversation with Dominic Barton surfaced yet again – is the question of nature vs. nurture. These luminaries – Are they born with "it"? Or is "it" learned? Our hunch is a bit of both. But to what degree is each at play?

Here’s the thing – it might not matter. What if success is simply a conscious choice? What if being born with “it” doesn’t matter, but choosing to believe that you can attain “it” does?

We plan to explore this further in subsequent posts. For now, it's an emerging thought born of meaningful conversations with captains of industry who have reached heights of success that many of us aspire to.

1 comment:

  1. Another potential explanation: you must choose to believe you can attain "it" in order to be willing to try.

    There's a lot of work in psychology on the importance of optimism, even positive illusions, in attaining success. One of my personal favorite experiments: different groups of students were asked to contemplate the goal of doing well on a test. One group was told to visualize getting the test back with a great grade; one group visualized the steps that they would take and the great grade; and one visualized something irrelevant. The group that focused on how they were going to achieve the grade was the only group that did better than average.

    My hypothesis is that the people who are successful chose to believe that they could attain "it", and they focused on the "how" rather than the "what." Really interesting question!