Now I learned the concept of Domain Maps from a book called Talent Is Overrated. And that book had a massive impact on my life.
Here are 7 lessons I learned from Talent Is Overrated.
Lesson 1: Exceptional Talent Is A Function of Hard Work Over Time
The sub-title of this book is “What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else. And the Author begins Talent Is Overrated by introducing the question of where great performance or expertise comes from.
From that question Colvin introduces the work of Anders Ericsson – via a detour looking at Mozart and Tiger Woods – and this leads to the inevitable conclusion that exceptional talent is achieved by focused practice applied over time.
Ericsson calls the type of practice that you need to use Deliberate Practice. And there are examples peppered throughout the book of people who’ve used Deliberate Practice – either consciously or unconsciously – to become exceptional over time.
For those of you who want to become better writers the few pages on how Benjamin Franklin became a better writer are a potential gold mine.
Greatest Learning: The notion that you have to have ‘natural talent’ to excel at something is a myth. Ericsson’s conclusion – that it takes 10,000 Hours of practice or 10 years to became a virtuoso – is now a meme that many people accept.
Lesson 2: There Is A Blueprint You Can Follow To Get ‘Talented’
Ericsson’s work is important for all of us, not just because his empirical studies show that hours practiced are the most important determinant for ability, but also because he went further and codified the type of practice that you needed to use to develop ability.
He called the specific type of practice deliberate practice. And deliberate practice has specific elements that need to be present in order for your practice (or learning) to be the most efficient and effective it can be.
The elements that need to be present to conduct deliberate practice are reasonably simple and easy to understand. Colvin talks about how to apply these elements in business settings to improve your current business performance. These examples can help you formulate your own deliberate practice strategies so that you can get better.
Greatest Learning: Structuring your learning in accordance with Ericsson’s principles of Deliberate Practice optimizes that learning, and will ensure that you make constant and continuous progress irrespective of your current ability level.
Lesson 3: You Can Develop Talent (Expertise) In Any Discipline
There are examples of many different disciplines throughout Colvin’s book ranging from surgeons to taxi drivers to chess players to sportsmen to public speakers to musicians to computer programmers and politicians and beyond.
The only limits are those that you bring. If there is a discipline that you want to excel at, using deliberate practice will help you get better.
Greatest Learning: If you want to get better at anything the only thing stopping you….is you. You can become exceptional at anything.
Lesson 4: Developing Talent Is Hard Work
The portion of Ericsson’s work that has been popularized is the 10,000 Hour Rule that I mentioned above.
To put 10,000 hours of practice/learning into perspective, if you practiced for 3 hours every day of the year (with just Christmas Day off), then it would take you over 9 years to get to the 10,000 Hour mark.
But it’s not just that constant amount of learning that’s hard – deliberate practice done properly is ALWAYS hard. To truly learn you have to be always confronting new challenges and then when those challenges have been mastered, move onto new challenges.
Having the discipline to do that on a daily basis needs you to be focused and sheer bloody minded.
Greatest Learning: Learning a new skill to a high level is hard work. There are no magic buttons that will bypass this. (The good news is that will put off the majority of your competitors – thereby making you stand out!)
Lesson 5: You Can Use The Blueprint As A Teaching Tool
Once you understand the principles of Deliberate Practice – and the best way to fully understand them is to use them to acquire a skill – you can use those principles to structure any teaching that you are doing.
This will set you apart from your competitors in several ways:
- The effectiveness of your teaching will improve exponentially
- Because only those who work hard will truly benefit, those students you have who do work hard will see results
- Testimonials from successful students will help attract new students – because those testimonials will be exceptional
- The perception of your expertise will increase in your industry
Greatest Learning: As well as being the best tool to structure your own learning and practice, Deliberate Practice is also the ideal tool to structure any teaching you are doing. And it will make your teaching more effective – probably by an exponential factor.
Lesson 6: You Don’t Have To Get To Virtuoso Level To Outrank Your Competitors
This lesson isn’t explicit in Talent Is Overrated – the book tends to talk about talent and expertise in terms of virtuoso or world-class ability levels.
However let’s be honest – who here has the time to practice /learn something for 3 hours a day for the next 10 yea to get to world-class or virtuoso levels?s?
That’s missing the point though – the point is that in relative terms you may need only modest percentage increases in your ability to outrank the competitors in your market area.
For example, whatever your market area is I can pretty much guarantee that if you did just 5 hours of disciplined and focused learning per week for the next year (which is only 1 hour a day, Monday to Friday), then by the end of that year you will have a greater ability and expertise in your market area.
And in many market areas just doing that will significantly alter your standing in your market.
Greatest Learning: Small improvements in ability can quickly help you leapfrog your competitors.
Lesson 7: Those Who Only Read Don’t Improve – Those Who Implement, Grow And Thrive
This is my personal lesson from Talent Is Overrated.
After I’d finished the book the first time I intuitively grasped that I’d read something profound. And I wrote my own book on Deliberate Practice for bass guitar players – and incorporated the principles into my own learning and my teaching.
The results have been exceptional. Here’s something incredible: my understanding of Deliberate Practice allows me teach facets of the bass guitar to players who are much better than me. (Yep, read that again – I teach players who are better than me!)
But how many business books have you read that didn’t contribute to your bottom line because you read it, congratulated yourself for learning something, and didn’t really apply the information?
The next time you read a business book and think: wow, that was cool then commit to learning and implementing the material in that book using the principles of Deliberate Practice. Your growth – both personal and business – will be astronomical.
Greatest Learning: If you read a book once and don’t apply the information almost immediately, in 6 months time anything you’ve learned will be gone. If you read something that strikes you as being profound, inherently true and useful then start working on that book at a deep level.
Talent Is Overrated is a fabulous book – one that I can’t recommend highly enough. Here are my big takeaways from the book:
- Exceptional talent is a function of hard work over time
- There is a blueprint you can follow to get talented
- You can develop talent (expertise) in any discipline
- Developing talent is hard work
- You can use the ‘talent blueprint’ as a teaching guide
- You don’t have to get to virtuoso level to outrank your competitors
- Those who only read a book don’t grow and improve – those who implement truly learn and thrive
If you’ve read the book, what were YOUR greatest lessons?
If you haven’t, you can check it out here (and yep, that’s an ‘affiliate’ link):
Here’s a non-off link