They Will Be Just Fine (and no more than that)

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Quote by Geoffrey Colvin in chapter 1 of his book “Talent is Overrated: What really separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else“:

“We tell our kids that if they just word, they’ll be fine. It turns out that this is exactly right. They’ll be fine , just like all those other people who work at something for most of their lives and get along perfectly acceptably but never become particularly good at it”

Geoffrey Colvin goes on to report that the research he looked at shows that the number of years of hard work spent in a particular field of human activity has NO relationship to the level of excellence by individuals in many, many different fields, including for example medicine and law enforcement. It seems that straight-forward experience is a very poor predictor of outstanding ability. And it seems that any innate talent that one may have at birth has very little predicting power as to how good one will be in adult life.

So what does Geoffrey Colvin say will far outdo any gifting at birth and outdo just years of hard work?