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Success And Geniuses: Nature And Nurture

1299 words - 6 pages

Booker T. Washington once said, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed” (BrainyQuote). To achieve success one must accomplish an aim or purpose. Success cannot be achieved over night. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about both Robert Oppenheimer and Chris Langan he writes “Here we have two very brilliant young students, each of whom runs into a problem that imperils his college career. Langan’s mother has missed a deadline for his financial aid. Oppenheimer has tried to poison his tutor. To continue on, they are required to plead their cases to authority. And what happens? Langan gets his scholarship taken away, and Oppenheimer gets sent to a psychiatrist. Oppenheimer and Langan might both be geniuses, but in other ways, they could not be more different” (98). Although Robert Oppenheimer had better family support and more opportunities than Chris Langan did, they both were still successful in life.
Robert Oppenheimer had much family support growing up. He came from a very wealthy family. He was born and raised in New York City. Oppenheimer had both of his parents firmly standd behind him and encourage him in whatever he did. They truly believed in oppenheimer’s intelligence. Gladwell writes about an example that clearly shows the encouragement he writes, “Dreading the thought of having to talk to an audience of adults, Robert begged his father to explain that they had invited a twelve-year-old. Greatly amused, Julius encouraged his son to accept this honor…Robert nevertheless read his prepared remarks and was given a hearty round of applause” (109). This is just one example but this leads to think that he had family support throughout his life.
On the other hand, Chris Langan did not have much family support growing up. He was born in San Francisco but raised in Montana. His family was extremely poor. Langan’s biological father died before he was born. He struggled in childhood and had no support from his teachers. His parents did not care for his intelligence. Langan’s stepfather abused him just for the simple fact that he was smarter than him. Gladwell writes about conversation with Langan that perfectly display no family support. In the conversation, Langan says "Then I lost that scholarship my mother was supposed to fill out a parents' financial statement for the renewal of that scholarship. She neglected to do so... it came to my attention that my scholarship had not been renewed. So I went to the office to ask why, and they told me, Well, no one sent us the financial statement, and we allocated all the scholarship money and it's all gone, so I'm afraid that you don't have a scholar­ ship here anymore (93). This man has never received any support from anybody. Langan simply raised himself.
When it comes to opportunities in life, Robert Oppenheimer is no stranger. He...

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