Progidy is apparently bollocks. :)

I found this writeup of a speech given by Malcolm Gladwell very encouraging, and would like to talk about it. In it, Gladwell discussed the myth, or the mythological elements surrounding the idea, of childhood precociousness.  That is, the quality of children who, excelling in any given area, are forecast to achieve great heights within that area.  He fairly thoroughly debunked the connection between childhood excellence and adulthood prodigy, arguing that excelling in acquiring skills and excelling in creative or revolutionary use of those skills are two very different things.

I found this encouraging, for a number of reasons.  Foremost among them:  I was not a particularly above-average child.  I wasn't behind, for the most part, except socially, but there were very few areas in which I pointedly excelled.

As a mild achievement-junkie, this relieves quite a lot of personal anxiety.  Angst might be the more accurate term, actually.  As much as I may know it's unjustified, it's hard not to feel a little cheated about my predominantly low-pressure childhood.  I do understand the trade-off -- in an idealized scenario, pressure variation would directly correlate to achievement, and inversely correlate to a well-balanced mental state.

But with this article, if it's to be trusted (and it's probably about as trustworthy as anything else that filters out of psychology in sufficiently adjusted language for laypeople like me to understand), that anxiety is lifted.  I no longer have to worry about what I could have achieved if only I'd been pushed to work at it when I was a kid.  That probably wouldn't have mattered.

Of course, in reality, there are far too many variables in human life to make anything resembling actual, useful claims about what might be different if I'd had a completely different childhood.  But now I can rest easy in the knowledge that it's not even theoretically possible that I missed out on much of the stuff I really care about.  (I mean, sure, there are measurable ways in which I might be better off if I'd been hugged more, but I don't really give a crap about that part.)