Thursday, January 13, 2011

Late Bloomers vs Prodigies

On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all.

Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith.

Prodigies rarely engage in open-ended exploration. They tend to be 'conceptual'... in the sense that they start with a clear idea of where they want to go, and then they execute it.

But late bloomers tend to work the other way around. Their approach is experimental. Their goals are imprecise, so their procedure is tentative and incremental.

This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is highly contingent on the efforts of others.

--Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw


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