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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nature, nurture, and great design

There is an ongoing debate between "nature" versus "nurture" when it comes to talent. What is more important to design?

We may have heard an anecdotal story about someone who wasn't very "talented" but stayed up day and night practicing and eventually surpassed a more complacent and talented counterpart. This story may be true in some respects. Recent studies have shown that "experts are made, not born." Nevertheless, I believe becoming truly great requires much more then either talent or experience.

Neither natural born talent, nor technical skills hold any weight without passion. Without passion, any God-given talent would atrophy or any learning would be stifled.

I have a friend who is quite gifted in design. However, he liked to rock climb just slightly more than he liked to sand Bondo. The result was a conflict of interests on his time, and both his talent and experience were short-changed.

We all like to do things that we find pleasurable or interesting. I have found that truly great abilities lie in individuals who will do what it takes to make their design superior to the rest. Mediocre design is the product of individuals who fail to harness these passions.

If you are trying to figure out if you are as talented as someone else, don't bother. Make sure your passion is kindled for creating great design.