Apart from the body chemistry, I believe that all children strive to experiment, build, or create something to satisfy an emotional need for satisfaction. IMO the environment in which this experimentation occurs is critical for the direction in which this striving for “satisfaction’ takes.
I remember my father’s library with books of wonderous inventions. I spend hours looking at the pictures and fantasizing being an explorer, ships captain, train engineer, astronaut, botanist. Sailing on my dad’s sailboat forever instilled a desire to travel the oceans. When I was ten I built my own sailboat from plywood, with bedsheets as sails.
Fortunately my parents recognized my curiosity and the first major playsets I can remember was a Meccano set, a microscope, and a crystal radio kit. I spent hours and days building things, peering into the microworld, and assembling, tuning and listening to the magical sounds from a small crystal. The satisfaction and pride gained from my parents approval, IMO, shaped my entire future desires and abilities to figure things out with confidence.
OTOH, my friend, who lived with parents who were alcoholic, experimented with alcohol at a very early age and of course found his satisfaction in the chemical effects of alcohol. When I showed him my little treasures, he was not in the least interested and eventually we drifted apart, he became a troubled child.
Thus IMO, early environment, and encouragement is the key to increasing one’s ability to function successfully in later life. While circumstances prevented me from pursuing a formal higher education, I believe this early opening of a mindset that “i can do this” has helped me throughout life.
The key in education is not just books and learning by rote, but assigning projects which require analysis, patience, and the creation of a result. Encouragement and approval in those endeavors are critical in building confidence.