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What is talent?

How far can it take you?

A check for the definition of talent is …” a natural aptitude, an inner quality that emerges effortlessly”, as opposed to the definition of skill…”an acquired ability, learned with effort”.
The question…how do we acquire talent?

When we look at great performance, talent is often a word that we use, to almost justify the results achieved…in any field…the notion that brilliant mathematicians, scientists, sportsmen and musicians are born with excellence encoded in their DNA.

Every week, we see a wonder goal from a football star, or sometimes on talent shows, a mathematician mentally processing a multi-digit calculation. The inference is always that excellence is reserved for a select group of individuals…almost their success is by default…akin to a family heirloom being passed down.

One body of research of British musicians, for example, found that the top performers had learnt no faster than those who reached lower levels of attainment. They improved at almost an identical rate. The difference being the additional hours of commitment and dedication. We are now into the theory of “ten thousand hours”. The theory that it takes that many hours to become successful or an expert in a field.

The 10,000-hour rule was made popular in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Outliers”.

  • We are now choosing between talent and skill…a few conclusions.
  • Any talent is wasted without hard work and commitment…in fact, a waste of a perceived advantage.
  • Most people can achieve most things if they really set their minds to it!
  • Seemingly ordinary people can do extraordinary things!
  • Great coaches can see a talent and then, know how to develop it.
  • The choice is yours, never waste talent, and always keep your eyes open to the next great talent!

“Talent is cheaper than table salt.
What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Stephen King