Our world is obsessed with discovering innate abilities. Our media — and subsequently our schools — have created a culture where most people believe that we all have fixed and inborn gifts, as opposed to skills that can be built and developed. But what if children were taught that all of the greats from Beethoven to Einstein to Tiger Woods were (and are) just like us — ordinary people who were not born great, but instead achieved greatness over time?
It’s more intriguing to buy into the myth of inborn gifts and beliefs that certain people are wired certain ways. This kind of talk is pervasive in our culture, and I believe it holds millions of children back from achieving greatness in their lives — especially once they enter school. With the rise of standardization and conformity through standards-based testing, it is harder for schools to spend time ensuring no child becomes stuck in their perceived rank of intelligence and creative potential.