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Hard work vs natural talent

  1. Jan 31, 2012 #1
    I decided from the start of this year i would work harder and study more maths not that im bad im actually very good for a 14 year old turning 15 because i want to be a theoretical physicist one better than einstein but no matter how hard or how long i study maths or work on it it always seems like this friend of mine (he is 15 turning 16)is better he always solves and understands problems faster than i wold and he seems smarter too but it always motivates me to work harder yet not matter how hard i work he always seems to be better and i feel like giving up on my dreamcause if he is better than me i bet a whole lot of ppl in the world are better than me i dont think i have enough talent to be a theoretical physicist what can i do what should i do to be better at math and problem solving oh and im in year 10
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2012 #2


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    Please read that paragraph aloud to yourself. If you can say it all in one breath, fine. Otherwise, please insert punctuation and capitalize appropriately so we have a clue where sentences begin and end.
  4. Jan 31, 2012 #3

    jim hardy

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    well, you can write a sentence longer than Herman Melville.

    remember the fable of Tortoise and the Hare.

    It's actually an asset to be not absolutely a genius - you learn to work harder.
    And if you read Einstein's writings, when he was young he felt much as you do.
    He said in many things he was always last to understand and it made him work hard.
  5. Jan 31, 2012 #4


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    Remember, being a great scientist has nothing to do with being the fastest to solve a math problem. Being able to use punctuation will be needed in school.
  6. Jan 31, 2012 #5
    Sounds to me like you are suffering from tunnel vision.

    I believe natural talent coupled with some work effort (not lazy) will always out due a person who doesn't have a natural affinity for the subject in question but works hard at it. The person who is 'naturally' talented doesn't have to work as hard simply because he grasps the concepts at a faster pace and understands new concepts quicker, as seen in your friends case.
    In my case, I don't really have a natural affinity when it comes for dealing with computation, so I don't focus my efforts on dealing with just computation rather take a roundabout route and focus more on thinking and theorizing.

    Don't place your eggs in a single basket, focus more on understanding and thinking of applications to the concepts you learn, and focus more on writing about what it is you're interested in. Your friend will grasp them better, but wisdom comes with experience of working at the problems and understanding, applying, and teaching those concepts to other people in different ways from which you learned them. Maybe you will exceed him in other areas rather than solving problems faster.

    And because you are good at math as you've claimed, the path you have chosen should accommodate your abilities well enough. No need to quit.
  7. Jan 31, 2012 #6


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    I would bet that *most* people that have contributed to science have not been geniuses, but merely spent the time and effort to learn. No matter how hard you work there will always be someone who seems to be able to do it better or easier. This is just a fact of life for everyone. Don't let it get to you. Being able to do one thing better than someone else or easier means little in the big picture. Many times you are better than they are at something and don't even realize it.
  8. Jan 31, 2012 #7


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    I have a friend that is much quicker to pick stuff up, but he never finished his Bachelor's and I'm just about to finish my Master's. He also is interested in all this crackpot stuff and refuses to do mainstream science.

    Will he do something innovative someday? Maybe... but I doubt it; he's always getting into trouble with the law and he doesn't like actually doing work, he just want to play all the time (drinking and girls).
  9. Jan 31, 2012 #8
    That doesn't really relate to the OP's situation.
  10. Jan 31, 2012 #9


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    The point being that innate ability isn't enough.
  11. Jan 31, 2012 #10
    Do all your homework and study for tests by doing all your homework again! Also make sure you understand the material even if it means asking your teacher a hundred times.

    As you can tell I think hard work is a lot more important than natural talent.

    As for people doing better than you, don't worry too much about that. If you want to be an Einstein or a Stephen Hawking then you're probably going to be disappointed in yourself, but like others have said, a lot of serious scientific progress has been made by people you have probably never heard of.
  12. Jan 31, 2012 #11
    I wouldn't do the same problems again. I would try to solve for the given value after I solve the problem: work backwards. Or I would solve the other problems in the book. teachers don't assign all of them.
  13. Jan 31, 2012 #12
    Your friend doesn't want to be trained within the sciences, rather keeps his interest in the more fringe aspects of science set as a hobby. When comparing hard work vs. natural talent, there needs to be two people in the same field working, not one guy that doesn't care for the field enough to work in it vs. a guy that does.
  14. Jan 31, 2012 #13
    right, that's a good point
  15. Jan 31, 2012 #14


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    You're generating an argument from ignorance!

    He was right beside me for his bachelor's in the same field (physics) two classes short of it. He got kicked off campus, because he messed up with the law; he got wasted and did stupid things. He excelled in classes we took together, aced everything, helped me through a lot of it.

    He also does physics research on his own! It's just that he tries to do stuff like cold fusion and gravitomagnetics (producing gravity with electronics). He believes in the ether! Crackpot stuff! He wouldn't settle for publishing a standard paper even if he did manage to graduate.

    But when it came to Research Assistanceship (doing somebody else's research like you often must before you can do your own) he was a slacker. He ditched work for good times (or for his own crazy experiments).

    Try not to post in ignorance, especially if you're going to challenge someone else's post : )
  16. Jan 31, 2012 #15
    I merely challenged it because it didn't provide more information, instead, went on a track different from the OP's question.

    Also, that isn't a proper use of pointing out an appeal to ignorance fallacy.

    My replies were:

    based on your reply to me:

    You committed a suppressed evidence and straw man fallacy.

    Straw man: you stated my position as "ignorant" based on your own posts, and completely sidetracked my post saying, "don't challenge me when you are ignorant".

    Suppressed evidence: Your last post makes clear of this fallacy being committed with an obvious insult to my post.

    As I said before, innate ability does need one to pursue a similar objective when being compared with one another. That we agree on. Your friend isn't as interested like I stated before, but him not being interested doesn't coincide with the OP's question which is:

    "What can I do to be better than my friend who has a natural affinity for mathematics that is above my own?"

    How does your friend's lack of interest in any way, shape, or form help the OP with his issue?
  17. Jan 31, 2012 #16


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    You're basically highjacking the thread for you own mental masturbation...

    all the OP needs to know is that he'll be fine.
  18. Feb 1, 2012 #17
    Welcome to the world. Even the smartest people eventually realize there are people who are better.

    You don't have to be the best physicist, just be the best at being you.
  19. Feb 1, 2012 #18
    Talent requires hard work, it is not a given thing. Nobody is born naturally talented . Sure, some people have the ability to do somethings better, but in order to succeed it requires hard work.
  20. Feb 1, 2012 #19
    I think that hard work is more important than natural talent in terms of making progress in math and physics. It seems, at least to me, that natural talent will only get you so far, but after a certain talent level, hard work distinguishes the deepest work.
  21. Feb 1, 2012 #20
    It's passionate perseverance and work that will determine whether you're successful or not. Forget about what your friend is doing. Obviously, you are talented and have the capacity to learn ... anything.

    Also, as others have noted, do the proper/conventional punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc., wrt ordinary language statements. It's all about communicating as clearly and unambiguously as possible.
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