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Genetics / Natural Talent vs Hard Work / Practice

JanW

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The article doesn't seem to be online anymore, but there was an interesting article about study comparing kids who had been praised for their talent to those who had been praised for hard work. In short, the study found that those who were praised for being talented were more likely to give up when they faced a hard task. They simply believed their innate talent wasn't enough to conquer the task at hand. Those who had been praised for working hard would not give up, but instead believed they can overcome the obstacle if they work hard enough, then they went on to do so. So if you want to raise successful children, erase the word "talented" from your vocabulary. Probably wise to stop thinking in terms of talent about whatever you do yourself also, it is of no help to think there is a limit to what you can do. I'm fairly confident that nobody in this thread is at the limit of what they could achieve in cubing with enough practice, so no need to worry about talent.

In the case of Feliks, he has achieved more than anyone else, so clearly there is something special about him and what he does. I'm guessing this mostly means that he has been able to not only practice, but practice very well for many many hours. You can argue that this is some kind of innate ability, I don't know if it is, but I do know that most people are not able to practice anything efficiently for several hours a day over a long period of time. Anyone can practice something for 10000 hours, but very few can do focused deliberate practice for 10000 hours.

People often claim that practice makes perfect. This is false. Practice makes permanent, only perfect practice makes perfect. If you do 1000 solves without thought, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, all you achieve is that you teach your brain to do those mistakes. In the end this puts you further away from your goal, as erasing the mistakes will be harder the more used you are to doing them.

Feliks probably has an ability to analyze what he is doing wrong and fixing his mistakes very fast. In addition he has had a very strong motivation and desire to improve. Whatever his special abilities are, they are not cubing related as such. If he had instead became interested in something else and put the same effort into learning some other skill, he would most likely be very proficient in that skill by now instead.
 

GuRoux

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The article doesn't seem to be online anymore, but there was an interesting article about study comparing kids who had been praised for their talent to those who had been praised for hard work. In short, the study found that those who were praised for being talented were more likely to give up when they faced a hard task. They simply believed their innate talent wasn't enough to conquer the task at hand. Those who had been praised for working hard would not give up, but instead believed they can overcome the obstacle if they work hard enough, then they went on to do so. So if you want to raise successful children, erase the word "talented" from your vocabulary. Probably wise to stop thinking in terms of talent about whatever you do yourself also, it is of no help to think there is a limit to what you can do. I'm fairly confident that nobody in this thread is at the limit of what they could achieve in cubing with enough practice, so no need to worry about talent.

In the case of Feliks, he has achieved more than anyone else, so clearly there is something special about him and what he does. I'm guessing this mostly means that he has been able to not only practice, but practice very well for many many hours. You can argue that this is some kind of innate ability, I don't know if it is, but I do know that most people are not able to practice anything efficiently for several hours a day over a long period of time. Anyone can practice something for 10000 hours, but very few can do focused deliberate practice for 10000 hours.

People often claim that practice makes perfect. This is false. Practice makes permanent, only perfect practice makes perfect. If you do 1000 solves without thought, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, all you achieve is that you teach your brain to do those mistakes. In the end this puts you further away from your goal, as erasing the mistakes will be harder the more used you are to doing them.

Feliks probably has an ability to analyze what he is doing wrong and fixing his mistakes very fast. In addition he has had a very strong motivation and desire to improve. Whatever his special abilities are, they are not cubing related as such. If he had instead became interested in something else and put the same effort into learning some other skill, he would most likely be very proficient in that skill by now instead.
this is what i agree with. the reality is that hard work is the biggest driving force for improvement vs people hoping it's mostly talent. hard working mindset is the true talent.
 

Dene

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There is a lot of psychological research on this sort of topic, and the results aren't surprising. But it's statements like this...

So if you want to raise successful children, erase the word "talented" from your vocabulary. Probably wise to stop thinking in terms of talent about whatever you do yourself also, it is of no help to think there is a limit to what you can do.
... that lead to a bunch of naive kids on the internet thinking anyone can do anything, when they can't. Instead, how about teaching kids that to be successful in life they don't have to win at everything they do, but be good people.
 

Rubiks560

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There is a lot of psychological research on this sort of topic, and the results aren't surprising. But it's statements like this...



... that lead to a bunch of naive kids on the internet thinking anyone can do anything, when they can't. Instead, how about teaching kids that to be successful in life they don't have to win at everything they do, but be good people.
You can't prove that they can't do it...trying to tell them that "oh you can't do x" puts a limit on their mind. Very foolish IMO.
Sure, they might not be able to. But you don't know that.
 

Dene

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You can't prove that they can't do it...trying to tell them that "oh you can't do x" puts a limit on their mind. Very foolish IMO.
Sure, they might not be able to. But you don't know that.
Ya because it's so good for kids to be told their whole lives they can do anything. Then when they try, and fail, it's humiliating and demoralising, and leads them to put blame on either everyone else (making them spiteful and angry) or worse, themselves (leading to depression and suicide). But if that all sounds great to you then good luck raising your kids.

Also I never said, nor implied, that you should say "you can't do it" to kids. To assume that's what I was implying is a complete misunderstanding what I've said throughout this discussion.
 

JanW

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Ya because it's so good for kids to be told their whole lives they can do anything. Then when they try, and fail, it's humiliating and demoralising, and leads them to put blame on either everyone else (making them spiteful and angry) or worse, themselves (leading to depression and suicide). But if that all sounds great to you then good luck raising your kids.
I think you completely misunderstood the point. I never said anything about saying "you can do anything". Nobody can do anything, of course there is some limit to what you can achieve in a lifetime. But I believe no human has ever been able to reach this limit in any activity. If you look at exceptional performers, they are not thinking that they are as good as they ever will get and quit trying. Usain Bolt might have some genetic advantage, but he is still working as hard as he can, because he believes very strongly that he can still improve.

The point is that you can achieve more if you work harder. And to teach your kids this, you should say "you did very well" instead of "you are so good". Teach them that they performed well because they tried hard and did something right, not because they just have some inborn ability.

Also, trying and failing is not humiliating and should not be demoralizing. It's a part of any learning process.
 

OLLiver

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I think you completely misunderstood the point. I never said anything about saying "you can do anything". Nobody can do anything, of course there is some limit to what you can achieve in a lifetime. But I believe no human has ever been able to reach this limit in any activity. If you look at exceptional performers, they are not thinking that they are as good as they ever will get and quit trying. Usain Bolt might have some genetic advantage, but he is still working as hard as he can, because he believes very strongly that he can still improve.

The point is that you can achieve more if you work harder. And to teach your kids this, you should say "you did very well" instead of "you are so good". Teach them that they performed well because they tried hard and did something right, not because they just have some inborn ability.

Also, trying and failing is not humiliating and should not be demoralizing. It's a part of any learning process.
Ok. I'll bite.
I agree with Dene.
Some people just have some natural ability. We are not all alike. Genetically we must be distinct. Basic Biology. Diversity is how we evolve. with diversity we would be dead by now.
This genetic diversity is expressed in some people having natural talent.
Usain bolt is an excellent example. Sure he is tall. but biologically I bet he has some small biological dvantage over others that translates to him having slightly higher speeds/endurance/etc. no matter how hard I train. He will always be faster than me because I don't have the same genetic advantage.
 

Dene

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I think you completely misunderstood the point.
I think you're the one that's confused. I wasn't quoting you when I said that. When I did quote you previously, it was about the consequences of your thought process, not a reiteration of your statement.

The point is that you can achieve more if you work harder. And to teach your kids this, you should say "you did very well" instead of "you are so good". Teach them that they performed well because they tried hard and did something right, not because they just have some inborn ability.
Of course, that is a great life lesson. But with the way people have been talking in this thread, it doesn't seem as if that's what they had in mind.

Also, trying and failing is not humiliating and should not be demoralizing. It's a part of any learning process.
Within the right context, of course. But if someone has been told their whole life they can do anything, and nothing can hold them back, it would be very demoralising to fail at anything.
 

JanW

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Within the right context, of course. But if someone has been told their whole life they can do anything, and nothing can hold them back, it would be very demoralising to fail at anything.
Everything in moderation, of course. "You can do anything"-talk is no good, I totally agree on that. But to me, using that phrase sounds more like trying to tell someone they have a special gift that can take them further than anyone else. Apparently you look at it differently and read it into the other side of the argument.

It also depends on your definition of "do anything". If you read that as becoming the best in the world, it is most likely not true. There's 7 billion of us, there will always be a lot of people that are better than you at whatever you do, except in the case for very few individuals. If your aim is to become the very best and you view it as a failure if you don't, then it is very likely you will be disappointed. If that is the mindset, then our planet is populated almost exclusively by failed individuals. But in reality, to become successful in life you do not need to be the best in the world, not even the best in your town or the best in your class. Most fields have millions of successful practitioners in the world. It's enough to become one of them. With motivation, dedication and hard work, and a realistic view of what success means, you can get there. Provided, of course, that you can afford the education, if you live in a country where this is an issue.
 

Rubiks560

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Ya because it's so good for kids to be told their whole lives they can do anything. Then when they try, and fail, it's humiliating and demoralising, and leads them to put blame on either everyone else (making them spiteful and angry) or worse, themselves (leading to depression and suicide). But if that all sounds great to you then good luck raising your kids.

Also I never said, nor implied, that you should say "you can't do it" to kids. To assume that's what I was implying is a complete misunderstanding what I've said throughout this discussion.
This is probably the most extreme example you could have given. Failing or not succeeding is just a part of life. You can't win everything. And if you raise a kid to just accept failure and teach him to blame it on everyone else, you really did something wrong when raising that kid. I mean, I guess when I failed to get WR tons of times in 2011 I should have just gave up and killed myself and blamed other people. Because according to you, that's what people do.

You don't have to tell a kid "you'll be the best at anything you want!" but you should be letting them explore what they enjoy which for all you know, they have a natural ability for. And that natural ability will never be capitalized on if they don't practice it.
 

kake123

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I don't think so. You can practise sprinting as much as you like, you'll never outrun Usain Bolt unless you have the genetics. Feliks has a brain that processes this particular ability better than most (taking in patterns, processing combinations, working out a solution, and sending that information to the fingers). That, combined with a lot of practise, made him by far better than anyone else. To match him would take the combination of natural ability with an enormous amount of practise.
Since I believe this thread is about cubing, I would have to say 3 things: passion, practice, and good practice.

None of the people related to me are able to solve a 3x3. And people who see me solve a cube relatively fast think that maybe my parents or family members also can solve the cube (maybe as fast) because "it is in the genes" (common lame fallacy).

So for speedcubing, genetics really dosen't play a part.
 
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Dene

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This is probably the most extreme example you could have given. Failing or not succeeding is just a part of life. You can't win everything. And if you raise a kid to just accept failure and teach him to blame it on everyone else, you really did something wrong when raising that kid. I mean, I guess when I failed to get WR tons of times in 2011 I should have just gave up and killed myself and blamed other people. Because according to you, that's what people do.
There are a lot of factors that will determine how someone responds to any given treatment, so of course there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. My example was extreme, but surely one suicide is one too many. This is why you should take care in how you define success. And of course, never tell people they can definitely "do anything" because it's bull crap. Instead you could say "with a lot of hard work you can excel at most things", or whatever.

You don't have to tell a kid "you'll be the best at anything you want!" but you should be letting them explore what they enjoy which for all you know, they have a natural ability for. And that natural ability will never be capitalized on if they don't practice it.
It also depends on your definition of "do anything". If you read that as becoming the best in the world, it is most likely not true. There's 7 billion of us, there will always be a lot of people that are better than you at whatever you do, except in the case for very few individuals. If your aim is to become the very best and you view it as a failure if you don't, then it is very likely you will be disappointed. If that is the mindset, then our planet is populated almost exclusively by failed individuals. But in reality, to become successful in life you do not need to be the best in the world, not even the best in your town or the best in your class. Most fields have millions of successful practitioners in the world. It's enough to become one of them. With motivation, dedication and hard work, and a realistic view of what success means, you can get there. Provided, of course, that you can afford the education, if you live in a country where this is an issue.
Good to see you guys have come around to much more reasonable perspectives now. I take it that since we're having this debate, you agree that genetics do indeed play a role. Apparently I've made progress in this thread.
 

CubeFrance

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The only thing we can notice is people that hold WR/World Classe Performance like Chris Olson know that these performances are due to training more than natural talent.
In it's thread it's clear that cubers who are thinkings Feliks got amazing results by is "natural talent" are cowards.
Seriously, a lot of people have already said that speedcubing is a young sport. The actual level is slow compare to the limiit of speedcubing. Everybody can reach sub7/8 average of 5 with 2hours cubing per day during 10years for ewample.
In this thread people talk about Usain Bolt. But No one have cube more than Usain Bolt Train during his life. Usain Bolt his a really hard worker even if he got a little genetics advantages. I'm sure if a guy cube with the rigor of Usain bolt's training for years, he will beat Felik's.
 

Dene

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In it's thread it's clear that cubers who are thinkings Feliks got amazing results by is "natural talent" are cowards.
Why practise when his natural talent can get him sub7?


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!! *runs away and hides behind a curtain*
 
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