Thursday, November 30, 2006

Natural Talent vs Work Ethic.

I've been meaning to write about this for a fair while but I really haven't been bothered enough until now. It was a few nights ago at Kyle's "chill out session" with Josh Anna and the usual resident of the house (Kyle) when a certain conversation between Anna and I re-sparked my interest about this. And when Anna greeted me with "update your blog Jin!" last night at the movies, I thought it might do me some good to flop out a blog while I wait for those EoX day photos from everyone.

So dear old Anna may or may not remember but the conversation was about VCE, ENTER and how the process isn't really a test of your intelligence, but rather a combination of intelligence and work rate. Whilst I couldn't figure out if she was whinging or just stating her observation, I thought "damn straight", because that's the way it should be. Being smart is fine, and I'm damn fine, but working hard is just as important.

So Natural Talent versus Work Ethics. It should be pretty obvious what they mean but just to make sure- Natural Talent being attributes that you have genetically inherited; like intelligence, physique, or big vocal range. Work Ethics being the ability to concentrate, work hard, and be persistent at what you do. Since I'm a visual kind of guy and I have a lot of time on my hands;

I don't really know why I chose cauldrons to describe this, but the point is, the cauldron of talent and the cauldron of work ethics mix together to create one big mix known as "performance". Performance is of course the results, the end product, how well you do at something. Talent would be different according to the activity; i.e intelligence would be the contributing talent in your performance in the VCE, Good muscly physique would be the relevant talent in bodybuilding etc. Broadly I'd say there are about 4~5 main types that people can be grouped into in this rather ambiguous and oversimplified "cauldron model" of mine:

Good amount of talent, not enough work ethic; mediocre results. These guys are the ones whose parents always say "he/she had so much potential, but..."

Not much talent, strong work ethic; still mediocre performance. One must respect the work rate, but working hard can only take you so far in the end.

The lethal low-low combination. I suppose it would be rather easy to fall into the trap of giving up trying when you don't have much talent. Better luck next reincarnation.


Good amount of each, pretty balanced-kind of person. Safe and steady.

So what type of student were you when you were at high school? Have you switched types since you started going to uni? So many questions, answers to which I don't really care about.

Personally I'd much rather see a hard working person with less natural talents succeed over someone with natural talents. There's just something so oddly honourable and satisfying about it. Like justice's been served or something. But then again, I've always been a fan of the underdogs.


Anna said...

it most definately wasn't whinging!

haha nice blog, altho, i still think that even if you're not exceptionally smart (natural talent), you could still fill the performance cauldron up- by putting in a ridiculous amount of work. Especially in VCE, where so much relies purely on memory.

Anna said...

Oops, what i mean to say is that the cauldron sizes for work ethic and natural talent (i think) would not be equal (when it comes to VCE anyway.) Work ethic would be bigger.

*shameless double post*

Jin said...

Yes I thought exactly the same thing as I was typing away, about how cauldron sizes could vary according to what you were doing.

But then it started becoming a bit confusing. Things like the efficiency of work rate; using VCE as an example again, given same amount of work rate in two individuals, the person with higher intelligence will probably use his/her time more effectively and ultimately achieve higher marks than a person with lower intelligence who works just as hard.

Then there's the whole work ethic being a natural talent all on its own idea. I guess what I am trying to say in midst of this insane rambling is that differences in cauldron sizes won't really be big enough to be a significant factor in effecting performance. As in, no matter how hard you work (to the extend of the cauldron 'overflowing' to say,) it still needs to be backed up by decent amount of natural talents to fill the performance cauldron right up.

...Mannnn there's really not much to do at work.

hwangus said...

Time is a universal factor (everyone has the same amount of time in a day - 24 hours) whereas work ethics and natural talent are factors dependent on individuals.

This makes me sad, because it means that no matter how hard you try (i.e. no matter how good your work ethics is) a person with more natural talent than yourself with similar or higher level of work ethics (or even less) will be better than you are.

So in a sense, natural talent prevails over work ethic, because people with natural talent can acquire work ethics whereas people with no natural talent will find it impossible to do the same. (That is, if we define natural talent as being something genetic and work ethic as a learned behaviour)

What you can do in order to try to match the naturally talented people is to improve our work ethics and gain as much advantage in 'time' factor by working harder and sleeping less.

cam said...

yes i think natural talent is the more crucial variable, everyone COULD work harder, but few can improve their capacity for problem solving for example. we all know examples of people who tried ridiculously and still did average in exams.

the question is, does ENTER have any bearing whatsoever on the successfulness of ur life? is it even a relevant method of testing?

hwangus said...

I think Anna and Jin were trying to determine to what extent natural talent (or intelligence in case of ENTER)and work ethics affect your ENTER results.

Whether ENTER scores reflect successfulness of one's life, that's a question for a whole another blog post!

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The teacher said...

Jin as a teacher with many years of collecting data from 100's of VCE students one thing is clear. That the abilities or talents we possess by year 12 haven't changed for several years, our ability to use them effectively has. Working harder is not always the simple answer either, rather how we can work smarter. I can equate talent to cars, some of us are born with Ferraris and others have 1964 VW beetles. However, our abilities to work at how successfully we can drive them determines the successful nature of the journey. Many Ferrari drivers may not be able to locate the keys to the garage, let alone find first gear.