Home > Attitude vs. Aptitude, General Musings > Attitude versus Aptitude – A Rubber Band Analogy

Attitude versus Aptitude – A Rubber Band Analogy

Oftentimes, we are unaware of our inherent limitations, whether they be intellectual, physical, spiritual, etc.  I’m willing to take this a step further, and posit that most of us tend to underestimate, and consequently, never fully realize our true potentials.  Today’s (opinionated) entry will revolve around the highly contested, “Nature versus Nurture” debate; something that never seems to fail at creating a considerable degree of ruckus amongst academia and laymen alike.  However, instead of the politically correct terms, ‘nurture’ and ‘nature,’ I prefer to use the words ‘attitude’ and ‘aptitude.’ (Why?  Oh, no particular reason, but in my mind, “nurture” seems to imply that we have less control over the matter than we actually do)


Bands come in every shape and size ... How we make use of the ones that we've been given, is what really counts.


Although the following analogy can generalize to a myriad of situations, let’s use academic performance as an example.  First of all, I want you to imagine a rubber band (any color will do).  Let us associate this band with a person; Person A.  Now imagine a second, larger band, and associate that with Person B.  You’ve probably realized by now where I’m headed with this, that is to say, one’s intrinsic ‘aptitude’ can be modeled by the size of one’s (metaphorical) rubber band.  Thus, the greater the magnitude of one’s (unstretched) rubber band, the greater the magnitude of one’s inherent abilities.  By the same token, we can also attribute one’s ‘attitude’ with the degree to which one is willing to stretch his or her band.

Continuing on with the example: Person A just so happens to be a very studious individual; one who attends every single lecture and dedicates copious hours to review and homework.  Person B, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about their grades, and instead, elects to “live life to the fullest” by partying and having fun.  It goes without saying that Person A is, invariably, the better student.  But why?  Let’s use our rubber band analogy to examine the crux of the situation.

Despite having a larger rubber band (ie: greater aptitude), Person B chooses not to stretch their band to its fullest length, and hence does not realize his or her fullest potential (ie: lesser attitude).  Conversely, in spite of having a smaller band, Person A’s scholarly attitude allows them to extend their band beyond the length of Person B’s.  This ultimately results in Person A’s success in academics relative to Person B.

Now, you must be wondering: “Well, if Person B chose to adopt a more studious attitude, then wouldn’t he or she be capable of surpassing Person A?”

My answer to this is a resounding: yes.  We needn’t look far either; all we have to do is turn to people in the upper echelons of their respective fields (ie: Professional athletes, top scientists, etc).  These individuals, according to the rubber band analogy, have a mixture of the right ‘attitude’ and a high ‘aptitude’.  In other words, they have large, outstretched bands.

I think the main, and most crucial point, however, is not what you have been endowed with, but what you choose to make of it.  It all boils down to how much you are willing to improve what you already have.  Never mind about what others have and are able to do; just focus on yourself.  So what are you waiting for?  The road to self improvement is just a stretch away!

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