Models of talent development and outstanding achievement emphasize as one of the necessary conditions a strongly supportive environment. Historic and contemporary cases are presented as exceptions to this rule. Examination of these cases shows that personal strengths of the individual are the key factor in overcoming deficiencies in environmental support. This makes the self the centerpiece of the scenario of talent development. Of the four models examined here, Feldman's and Piirto's give more weight to the whole individual than do Tannenbaum's and Gagné's. Attributes of the self‐will, entelechy, striving for autonomy and self‐realization suggest areas of inquiry in further development of these models.