Is Talent Inborn or Not?

Is our personal and professional development a foreknown event formed by genes we inherited from our forefathers? How depressing to think that we would never be able to achieve more than allotted to us so mysteriously and in such a “beggarly” fashion by elements over which we have no control.

Twenty years ago, as a young group coordinator at the “Talma Yellin” school for arts (a well known art school in Israel), a student named Yoni asked me this million dollar question. “Teacher”, he said, “everyone knows that the students at this school are talented”, (How about some modesty?), “as a person with long term experience with students such as ourselves, what do you think? Is our talent a Godsend alone or can it really be acquired?”

Yoni struck me at a sensitive spot. I had been wondering for quite a long time and struggling with the question of whether it would be possible to develop a new model that would affect a “revolution” in our education system. A system that would enable also those marked as being “not talented” or “not bright” to become a “star” and a multi talented individual.
I gave vent to my ideas in front of friends, colleagues and family who all expressed grave doubts on the e subject. “Don’t go there Opher”, they told me: “don’t dare associate the term “Talent” as something that can be: ‘acquired’. This doesn’t make any sense, it’s opposed to everything we know on the subject and worse – you will not be able to ’sell’ your idea to anyone. Give it up Brayer – go fight other windmills”.

As a long time optimist, who derives much enjoyment and satisfaction in the most unexpected places, I decided to investigate in-depth the “Talent” discipline. Not finding a lot of satisfactory material on the subject, I decided to look around me. Why look and try to find the answers only in books and in academic research, whilst here I am, living and working everyday in this “Talent farm”? Surrounded by people who had already received a stamp of approval by the system.
I now decided to conduct a small research of my own.

This is the first post of a series about talent.

The next ones will be about my research and what I’ve found out.

Stay tuned. : )


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