Sunday, April 11, 2010

Grit, self-discipline and confidence unlocks talent

“Most people wouldn’t be able to engage in deliberate practice for even a few weeks,” Professor Ericsson said. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why more of us don’t get to — or even near — the top levels in a given field.

SHOOT: The emphasis needs to be on work, and that requires determination and discipline. Lots and lots of work.
clipped from

Talent, Mr. Shenk said, needs to be seen as a process rather than as a thing that we either have or we don’t. “I see this as the beginning of a more nuanced conversation,” he said.

Why does this matter? Because if we think of talent as more or less immutable, then we’re selling ourselves and our children short.

In fact, research has shown that most people who are really outstanding in their fields don’t come out of nowhere. Top-notch musicians are usually born into families where music plays a dominant role. The same is true with sports or any other endeavor.

In addition, by studying those who have excelled, Professor Ericsson has found that they engage in something he calls “deliberate practice.” It involves spending hours a day in highly structured activities to improve performance and overcome weaknesses.

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