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The Myth of Natural Talent

The Myth of Natural Talent

The Myth of Natural Talent

The key to transforming good performance into excellent performance isn't rooted in natural God-given talents, but rather in the deliberate acquisition and application of accurate knowledge.

Acquiring Precise Knowledge:

Instead of copying the actions of others; individuals should focus on learning the best concepts, and true ideas specific to their field of interest.

Applying the Knowledge:

This is accomplished by vigorous and sustained practice, continuously evaluating performance feedback, and making ongoing adaptive improvements.

Consider the tennis great, Roger Federer. His prowess isn't a divine gift but a result of countless hours of rigorous practice, which has led to the ingraining of his movements into his neurology.

This skills-internalisation is so deep that Federer himself might find it hard to explicitly explain his actions - a phenomenon psychologists' term as 'expert-induced amnesia.'

So, the path to success is laid more with targeted, intentional practice than with innate talent.

Sixth sense intuition is a myth.

Similarly, the so-called 'sixth sense' or intuition, often has its roots in subconscious logical deductions derived from extensive experience.

For instance, the firefighter who evacuated a building moments before it collapsed was praised for having a supernatural instinct for danger. In truth, his 'sixth sense' was his subconscious processing of decades of experience and drawing logical conclusions.

The quality of logical conclusions depends on the validity of the logic used and the accuracy of the premises, typically gained through extensive experience.

Inaccurate premises or flawed logic can lead to false conclusions.

Correct and consistent answers only arise from accurate premises processed through valid logic.

Regrettably, many business and government institutions are filled with people lacking a sound understanding of logic or the necessary experiential knowledge, leading them to making repeated mistakes.

What often appears as magical talent is usually the result of unseen hours of intense practice - often amounting to 10,000 hours or more.

The misplaced belief in the necessity of inherent talent, discourages many people, causing them to abandon their efforts following initial setbacks.

However, setbacks should be viewed as signals for the need for more knowledge, better training, or both.

Quitting is the real failure, leaving room for incompetence in fields that require expertise.

So, persevere, and you may find that so-called 'God-given talent' is, in fact, a disciplined pursuit of knowledge and the awesome power of practice.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Motivation

  • What is 'Quiet Quitting'?
    Basically, Quiet Quitting is when employees do the bare minimum amount of work, in order to avoid being fired. It is a new phrase for an old problem, but what are the causes of it and how can organisations deal with it?
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  • The Myth of Natural Talent
    Success is crafted through deliberate knowledge acquisition and rigorous practice, dispelling myths of innate talent. 'Sixth sense' stems from experience, not magic. Persevere through setbacks; quitting is the real failure.
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  • Motivation by Affirmation
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  • How to Motivate Myself and Others
    All leaders need to develop the skill of motivation. Motivation is a specific emotion. All emotions are a product of thought, because whatever you think about causes an emotion. To be positive you need to think positively.
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