While ability definitely does play a role in the effectiveness of an individual, it is really persistence that makes the difference. I’m sure there are many geniuses whose potentials were never fully realized because they were held back, often by their own actions.
History has proven this point again and again.
The famous Thomas Edison spent years in a small room testing material after material to be used inside a light bulb. Often, he was so preoccupied and unsuccessful, that he was unable to pay his rent. It wasn’t due to outstanding intelligence or ability that he succeeded, but because of his stubborn will to succeed. The most able man would not have been able to do what Edison did without sincere devotion to his cause.
Albert Einstein wasn’t the genius he is reputed to be. He himself has said that the reason for his success was, he felt, the fact that he was a slow learner. He pondered things such as time and light into his adult years, instead of accepting the conventional wisdom of the time. His continuous wonder about these things is what truly lead him to his grand discoveries. It wasn’t a matter of ability; it was a matter of discipline.
Today, what differentiates the average student from the above average is his determination. The lazy kids are indifferent to their grades, and don’t care whether they get low marks or high. The spark that is the love of learning is not with them. The reason for this is often overlooked, but what often makes the difference in school is a love of books. If one can foster a child’s interest in books, with the child’s desire for reading a desire for learning will also come, as they become interested in not only the discoveries of their books, but also the discoveries of the world they live in. Rather than schools forcing reading on the students, it should be the parents’ responsibilities to initiate this interest, which in turn will teach the child persistence.
Ability does play a role in effectiveness, but where does that ability come from? One’s persistence may not make as much of a difference as it did in the case of the aforementioned two men, but through tenacity things may be accomplished that would otherwise have been impossible. Often what is perceived as ability is really determination, not only to study and explore, but to teach; not only to learn from the world, but also to allow the world to learn from you.