What is the maximum potential of the average person?

Drive has a lot to do with success - a person who’s intelligent and talented isn’t going to excel if they don’t put in a lot of hard work as well - but I think we often discount the role of luck. Even successful people who have natural advantages almost always have a few strokes of luck along the way: finding a mentor who wants to help, getting into an enterprise at the right time, etc.

For every big success story, there are a dozen others who worked just as hard but didn’t have those lucky breaks and didn’t reach the same heights. This doesn’t mean the breakout successes don’t deserve their success, but hard work and dedication alone are usually not enough even for those who also have natural talent.

Why the heck would anyone learn algebra at retirement?

I say, categorically I will never do that.

An average person could do any ONE of those options.
If they achieve more than one, they were not average to begin with…

Very similar to what I was gonna say, and deleted it. Yes, ‘luck’ matters. Life throws curve balls. Sometimes, no matter how intelligent you are it’s gonna hit you in the face.

It is drive. You need to be able to pick yourself up off the ground and swing again and again.

My (now deceased mother) had a masters in fine art. She became a comptroller for one of the biggest athletic companies in the state.

My brother dropped out of high school, ended up a truck driver and did pretty well. Now retired and has a pension.

I dropped out of college (it was more of a visit really). I have done quite well. I have a date for retirement. Wow. 17 months. I have so much training to do for my co-workers.

My wife has a degree in outdoor education. She is doing very well as a Real Estate appraiser.

We all have one thing in common. We worked our buns off from a very early age. Now, we also had a spot of luck I’m sure. I was in the right place at the right time for my career for instance. I’m not discounting those that work their knuckles to the bone, but can’t catch a break.

My best friend is more intelligent than I. But shit, does she have bad luck. Health mostly.

Myself, I really want to play guitar. I now have two numb fingers on my left hand. That’s gonna make it tough. Oh, and my hearing is shot. Some things just suck, so you deal with it.

With all that said, there certainly is a glass ceiling for women and minorities. That is verrrrryyyy slowly changing. But there is also a glass ceiling for finance. It sucks that it’s hard to make money, without money. It’s one hell of a long hill, but saving does work.

I think that that depends both on how you define “success”, and how you define “luck”. A person who gets struck dead by lightning while walking home from school on a clear day won’t accomplish much in their life, and that’s due to bad luck, but I don’t think that really counts. So let’s say the question is how much you can accomplish with a normal amount of luck, with no extraordinarily good or bad breaks.

And then there’s the question of success. You can certainly achieve a comfortable upper-middle-class, maybe even low-upper-class lifestyle without needing extraordinary luck: Does that count as success? But there are some measures of success (pro athlete, highly-placed politician, etc.) that you’re probably not going to achieve without all three of talent, dedication, and luck.

I’ll note that legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt was badly burned in a fire when he was 18, and the burns cost him most of the use of his ring and pinkie fingers on his left hand, forcing him to adapt his playing style to compensate.

Then again, Reinhardt’s musical talent was undoubtedly far above “the average person.”

Whether it be physical ability or high IQ I have to believe that those things are distinct advantages. But things like work ethic and determination can be just as powerful. Some people just attain success easier than others.

Jerry Garcia was missing a finger on his right hand, after a wood chopping accident in his childhood. I’m sure it would have impacted his playing much more seriously if it had been his left hand.

Right. I think this thread would be best leaving luck out of the equation as much as possible. Assuming no particularly good or bad luck, how far and high can the average person go based off of sheer willpower and ambition?

Jerry was more of a flat-picker than a finger-picker, which means the finger he was missing on his right hand didn’t really impact his style of play.

Fair to say he would have had playing options with a full allotment of digits that he didn’t have. But he seems to have done okay. :smile:

Mostly to see if it would be any easier, especially with zero pressure to succeed.

Thank you kenobi and markin. After my recent surgery for a pinched nerve, my doc said I might get feeling back in those fingers. Might. There isn’t jack that they can do about my hearing though.

I had the string action adjusted lower on the guitar. Helped quite a bit.

I started with banjo. As a percussion instrument, I figured I could at least feel it. And the string action is very light. My wife bought me the guitar. Self defense I guess. :rofl:

Oh, I’ll keep trying. If nothing else I can sit on the deck enjoy myself, and annoy the wildlife.

One of the most famous left-handed musicians of all time, Jimi Hendrix often utilized right-handed guitars turned upside down and restrung for left-hand playing.

You are welcome, and good luck!

One other example: Tommy Iommi, the guitarist of Black Sabbath, lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers on his right hand in an industrial accident when he was 17 – his right hand is his fretting hand, as he’s left-handed.

Though he was told he would never play guitar again, he was inspired by Django Reinhardt’s story, and made himself leather “thimbles,” to wear on his injured fingers. As he lacked feeling in those fingertips, he had to re-teach himself how to play, and also had to switch to lighter strings, but he was, obviously, ultimately quite successful.

I think amazingly high.

Experience is what you get, when you don’t get what you want” - Randy Pausch (and I think others). Failure is the best teacher anyone has.

If you listen

Almost look like finger picks, without the pick part. Boy, I bet he can ‘slide’ that really well.

Iommi’s injury also led him to tune his guitar down two or three half steps to decrease the strings’ tension. This was a factor in Sabbath’s trademark heavy metal sound.

It seems to me that when an “average” person becomes a high achiever they must have a very high tolerance for frustration, so they are not so “average” after all. I say this as a person with a very low tolerance for frustration, and admire those who push through it.

IMHO, depending on the situation, it could also be the opposite - the person has a very low tolerance for frustration. So when they get annoyed about not having enough money to cover some need/want, they push furiously to make more money, whereas the average person might just “ah, well” and decide to go without that costly need being fulfilled.

I guess it depends on what they have a low frustration threshold for. I’ve never been in a situation where I didn’t have the money to meet basic needs.