Talent vs Knowledge: The magic formula

Which one will bring you to excellence: talent or knowledge?

Many think that excellence is mostly a matter of talent, but the world is full of examples of not particularly talented individuals that achieved excellence through knowledge.

So which one is it better to have? As usual, the first, immediate answer is “It depends”. 

A function of excellence

Even though mathematics scares many people – in the video Giulia, CEO and Founder of inGeniusly, will tell you how to stop fearing it – the most effective way to explain excellence is a mathematical formula. 

We are borrowing the formula from MIT Professor Patrick Winston: he would use it at the beginning of his traditional seminar, “How to speak”, to explain how to increase one’s level of communication. But, it applies to so much more than communication.

Keeping it simple, your level of excellence is a function of (i.e. it depends on) three factors: Talent, Knowledge and Practice. These three elements influence your performance in different ways. Namely, Knowledge has the most impact, Practice some less, and Talent the least.

It is not to say that talent is not important, but you have to keep in mind two things about it: 

  • it’s out of your hands;
  • it is a multiplier equal to or greater than one (≥1).

The first point is very straightforward: according to the Cambridge Dictionary, a talent is “a natural ability to do something”. You can’t influence it. It’s something that you naturally have (or haven’t) got. Clearly, you can work on and cultivate your talents, but you do that by increasing your knowledge about the topic or activity and by practicing it. 

The second point may sound a bit more complicated, but it expresses a very uncomplicated concept. The idea is that, even in case you have zero talent at all in a specific field, this won’t negatively affect the results you can achieve through expanding your knowledge and with practice. 

Seen the other way around, if you do have talent, any action you take to increase your knowledge on the topic and every practice session will have a multiplied, positive effect on your level of performance.

The missing link

All nice and well said, but you still think that talent has the most impact on (some) areas of your life?

Then it is time to watch the video! 

One of the traits describing our cognitive profile is our mindset towards learning. In the video, Giulia brings up a very interesting study on the topic, by Dr. Carol Dweck – Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.  

She also gives you a step by step process to shift to the most productive mindset for learning.

At inGeniusly, we work with you to 

  • understand your cognitive profile 
  • implement strategies to exploit it best
  • help you to integrate the best of your, and other, cognitive styles into your approach

Watch the video to find out more about knowledge, talent and mindset and to get some tips that can help you improve your learning method.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive more tips on how to excel at work, exams, and languages!

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Which one will bring you to excellence: talent or knowledge? Many think that excellence is mostly a matter of talent, but the world is full


Everyone learns in a unique way. To reach mastery in any skill we need a mentor who will understand what makes us unique, guide us, and give us feedback along the way to correct those mistakes that we are not yet able to recognise, thus helping us to improve.

At inGeniusly, at the beginning of the journey, every student takes an in-depth assessment that helps us to define their unique Cognitive Profile. Every student is assigned a Mentor who has qualified as such after at least 6 months of intense training and 8 exams. Each Mentor is trained to tailor the techniques and exercises to the specific profile of the student, in order to help them to create their own personalised learning method. The final goal is to make sure that the student masters the art of learning and is independent in applying the techniques to their own goals.


This element is extremely important and often misinterpreted. In order to become an expert, applying the latest theory is not enough: we need to do it based on the principles of deliberate practice. We need to know what all the building blocks of that skill are and practise in a very specific way until we are able to master all of them. This will help us to build our own, sophisticated mental representations, which will lead up to mastery.

At inGeniusly, we have created a whole set of foundational exercises for each step of the Genius PRIME Method. To increase their effectiveness, they are taught in a fun way which enhances implicit learning and leads our students to the level of unconscious competence that is required to master learning.


This element includes all the valuable knowledge and techniques in the field you have chosen. These will probably evolve and be refined over time, so it is important to keep up to date with the latest research in that area.

At inGeniusly, our framework is called the Genius PRIME Method. This includes the latest techniques and knowledge you need in order to master each of the five steps of the learning process, so that learning can become as effective as our brain is wired to find it.


  • Understand the relation between your memory and your results
  • Discover the phases of memory
  • Find out about the main characteristics of your memory and how to use them
  • Improve your memory in 17 minutes

*if you don’t have 17 minutes now, don’t worry: you will also receive the masterclass in your inbox to watch it later