Book Review: Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Over Rated – The book debunks the myth that people cannot do certain things because they do not have “the talent.” It does point out the obvious that someone five feet tall won’t play in the NBA, a seven footer won’t be a world class gymnast and a sumo wrestler won’t be a marathoner. Specifically targeted innate abilities are simply fiction, because we are all born crying in the fetal position in need of another.
The book uses many famous people as examples. Tiger Woods’ father is a major reason for Tiger’s success, because Tiger’s father would show him how to putt in the garage at seven months. Tiger’s dad had him playing golf before age two. Jerry Rice, one of NFL’s greatest wide receivers, had an off-season workout that made pros puke. Mozart’s father was a successful music composer and had Mozart composing and writing music at age five. The young boy’s compositions were not originals and it took years to develop original works.
Great traits are attainable. The idea that skills are genetic is only a theory, not proven. Intensive training and repetition will get you where you want to be. There is remarkable potential for ‘ordinary’ adults and their amazing capacity for change with practice. Intelligence is not a prerequisite to extraordinary achievement.
Deliberate practice is difficult, because it requires focus on certain movements or systems that must be followed for desired results. Unlike what most people do, you cannot mindlessly go through the motions, because there is nothing to gain in that behavior. You must be able to assess your performance before you begin a task, during the task and after the the task is completed. The more hours you put in, the more those hours will accumulate and create an upward spiral to your personal success. Feedback by way of a teacher or mentor is key to progress.
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