The Dark Side Of Believing In Innate Talent

Happy New Year!

I hope your 2020 will be filled with health, happiness and much success. May this new decade hold wonderful things for you!

At this time of year many of us are thinking about what the future holds. And often the thoughts we’ve held onto for years continue to hold us back. Let me explain why this matters to you.

Outside of body size and height (which are fixed), everything else can be learned and improved upon over time, which means whatever you’ve told yourself isn’t possible likely is possible. You can write a book; start a new career; pass that accounting course; run a marathon. Of course, as we age we may have less time to dedicate to building a new skill, but it still remains possible.   And if you’re a parent, be careful what beliefs you cast over your children. If you believe things like, “he’s so clumsy, he’ll never be athletic” you may want to think again; it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Perhaps that child could be great at a certain athletic endeavour, but instead the parent passes quick judgement and doesn’t expose them to the sport.

K. Anders Ericsson, one of the world’s foremost experts on human performance has studied elite performers for over three decades. Nowhere is there evidence suggesting that genetics or innate talent correlate directly with expertise. Expertise is directly linked to one thing only: deliberate practice. What we’ve been conditioned to believe is the Hollywood version of the genius (think brilliant child playing chess or piano). It sure makes for a great storyline, but it’s not reality. No one is born with a gift of expertise, even so-called child prodigies have banked thousands of hours of practice to attain the highest skill level.

Ericsson’s research proves that in the long run, from childhood to adulthood, it is practice that reigns supreme. So what does this mean for you?

You are far more capable than you think, if, you are willing to put in the work.  Let this be the year that you cast aside limiting beliefs and take consistent action toward a big goal.

Here’s to 2020 being YOUR year!

Ian

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