I don’t agree with everything in this article. While I do agree that the nature part of ‘nature + nurture’ does need some minimum level, I think nurture is much more important than I think this article implies, and am more in line with most of what Gladwell has said. Gladwell’s definition of talent, from an interview he gave a few years ago, is: “Talent is the desire to practice. Right? It is that you love something so much that you are willing to make an enormous sacrifice and an enormous commitment to that, whatever it is -- task, game, sport, what have you.” I think achieving expertise is an extremely difficult thing to do, which is why it is so rare, but it is that love that leads to the drive to make the sacrifices needed to ‘practice’ deeply to achieve expertise that is what is important. And, in my opinion, that love and drive is triggered more by one’s environment, upbringing, and luck than it is by anything one is originally born and wired with.
New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell didn’t invent the rule, but he did popularize it through his best-selling book Outliers. The principle actually dates to a 1993 study, though in that paper the authors called it the 10-year rule.