Episode 169 – Talent May Be Overrated

Success takes more than talent
Success takes more than talent

The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance by K. Anders Ericsson (and others) is an interesting study about how talent may not be the determining factor for success.

The title of the study tells you the answer.

Deliberate practice – focused practice – made a big difference in three categories of violin students. One group were those who went on to have solo careers. Another group went on to be part of an orchestra. The final group wound up as music teachers. The difference in what they did was drastic. Those at the top of that food chain – the soloists – worked much harder. But they also rested more. And they practiced in shorter, more intense spurts.

We’re always looking for keys, secrets and formulas. We want an easy answer. A simple explanation. And we often find them by blaming success on fate, luck, chance, serendipity, talent and a host of other things that may play a part, but it’s highly probable that, for most people, they play a minor role.

We’d be more successful if we were so lucky. It’s fun to think so.

And it’s lazy.

Fact is, most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Most of us just don’t prepare enough for success. The result? Most of us never experience the success we could.


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