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Nature vs. Nurture Part 1/2: Is Talent Actually A Thing? (with Harry Ramsay)

April 16, 2021 at 9:00 pm CEST

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In Part 1 of this two-part salon, Harry Ramsay will lead a discussion on the hotly-debated nature of talent: its origins, its definitions, and – indeed – its very existence.


“I wish I could [play the piano / write a book / speak in public ], but I just don’t have the talent for it…”

How many times have you heard this?

“If you stopped messing around and just got your thousands of hours of practice in, you could do it, too. It’s not talent, it’s just hard work. Anyone can do it.”

How many times have you heard this?

Given these diametrically opposed standpoints, we might very well ask ourselves: What is it, exactly, that makes a person talented at something?

During this salon, we’ll explore the concept of talent from the ground up, through the lenses of:

  • Environment. How does the world around you shape your abilities? Does your upbringing have anything to do with it?
  • Genetics. Are people “born to do” anything? Does your randomly-shuffled deck of genetic quirks push you down a given path? Or does a person’s biological disposition count for little, and it’s really just down to hard work?
  • Society. Does a person’s peer group drive them in a certain direction? Do talented classmates produce talented peers? Can teachers and parents really exert the influence that they think they do?
  • Work ethic. Can the eccentric genius accomplish wonders merely by wishing it, or must a “normal person” pour decades of monstrous effort into the hard-earned cultivation of a craft? Is it necessary, sufficient – or neither?

In summary, then: are we doomed to live life within the limits of our predetermined paths? Or is it possible for us to cultivate our talents and shape our fate?

Save The Date!

Follow-up salon (Part 2):

Nature vs. Nurture Part 2/2 – 9pm, April 30th, 2021

Good to read pre-Salon: