Dan Liljenquist: Intrinsic motivation and true self-esteem

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    May 24, 2014 4:41 p.m.

    The kid has interest and drive and was offered incredible support, teaching and encouragement at such an early age. Those are the proven ingredients to "prodigy".

    The book, "The Genius in ALL of us" has changed my life by proving that it's intense desire leading to intense practice that creates excellence. There is no evidence at all that people are born with genetic abilities to do mathematics or play an instrument. The book does an excellent job at laying out the proof so don't ever give up on yourself or your children's ability to be good at anything.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    May 23, 2014 9:19 a.m.

    How ironic that it is "Irony Guy" who completely missed the point of Dan's article.

    Whatever part "luck" or "good fortune" or any other random effect has on our lives, the bottom line is we can make the best of whatever hand we get....or not.

    I had the bad "luck" of being born in 1950 into a very poor family and lived my entire childhood in the poorest neighborhood in Salt Lake.

    Simultaneously, I had the good "luck" that Salt Lake was located in a country that placed a higher value on personal freedom and enterprise than, say, any of the Communist countries then and since.

    I'd love it if the unluckiest of the unlucky people born in Communist countries were somehow able to loose themselves from the shackles of Communism. But, the most I can do to facilitate that is to live my life as freely, wisely and effectively as I can in my much luckier circumstance as a demonstration to them, and especially their despotic "leaders", of what **real** luck is; Freedom!

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    May 22, 2014 4:35 p.m.

    Ever hear of "Clever Hans" the counting horse? He was a trained German horse in the early part of the twentieth century. He could do any math short of calculus, and understand the German language. He would tap out the answer with his hoof.

    Unfortunately Hans wasn't all that clever, he was just very, very, good at picking up cues from his trainer about when to stop tapping his hoof!

    I've known many gifted athletes, who work extremely hard, with ostensibly no external motivation, but look at it for a moment. Have you ever won the race, or shot the winning basket, or made the last minute touchdown? If so, the high fives, the compliments, the headlines in the local paper are more motivation that most people get in a life time.

    No matter what the parents say, Claire is picking up subtle cues way better than Hans, and these cues are saying that her skill is a big deal. So, when Claire sits down at the piano and sees adults swoon at her talent, don't think for a minute that there isn't a HUGE amount of external motivation.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    May 22, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    Irony Guy:

    Luck certainly had something to do with it, but nowhere near everything to do with it.

    Most successful people can attribute some really lucky breaks (or if you are religious, blessings) for helping them acheive that success. No doubt about it - if you have a good home with supportive parents and access to education, nutrition, and good examples, then you have a definite advantage over those who do not.

    But I get tired of people who claim that everyone who has made something of themselves in this life don't deserve any of it. Hard work, hard work, and hard work are a huge part of nearly every success story.

    But then, it becomes so easy to take away from others when we convince ourselves that they really didn't earned it to begin with.

  • Anonyme Orem, UT
    May 22, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    The composer's name is Haydn, not "Hayden."

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    May 22, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    Au contraire, Dan, Luck has everything to do with it. This tiny prodigy was born with abilities far beyond most people's. She didn't choose to be a genius--it was genetic luck.

    "Luck" is a big blind spot for conservatives like you. People born into comfort with parents who value education are lucky. People born into poverty are not. Some poverty-plagued outliers rise out of this condition on their own, and many work long and hard for lousy wages, but most need considerable support to get beyond it. What they don't need is the constant conservative attacks on the poor for being poor, especially from the Mitt Romneys of the world who were born in the end zone and think they made a touchdown all by themselves.