The case against innate talent – The 200 words project

(continued from parts 1, 2, 3).
Researcher K Anders Ericsson has researched expert performance for the past 30+ years. In every case, his analysis has revealed one thread – every innate talent/prodigy story can be deconstructed to reveal “deliberate practice.”

Deliberate practice is practice that is typically guided by a coach that has specific goals, involves continuous stretching of the body and mind and, by nature, is hard. If you’ve felt the challenge when learning a new skill (whether it is a tennis swing or the guitar) from a coach, you’ve tasted deliberate practice. And, behind every great prodigy such as a Mozart or a Tiger Woods, there was typically a coach (in their case, dad) who developed their skills early. These practice techniques have been refined over time to the delight of competitive parents globally. Search for “child prodigy” on YouTube and you’ll notice the increase in the number of child prodigies over the years.

Often, kids with innate talent – be it IQ’s in mental tasks or better physical attributes in physical tasks – may get a head start. But, it doesn’t count for much without deliberate practice.

If innate talent isn’t everything we thought, what are the dangers of the belief?

While there is a huge benefit to starting young, it is only too late if the field doesn’t allow for participation based on age. Today’s octogenarian athletes are fitter than ever before. In 2015, Don Pellman became the first 100 year old to run a 100 meters in less than 27 seconds. – Anders Ericsson paraphrased


Source and thanks to: Peak by Anders Ericsson, The deliberate practice research paper

(The 200 words project involves sharing a story from a book/blog/article I’ve read within 200 words)

2 thoughts on “The case against innate talent – The 200 words project

  1. Thanks for the link to the original research paper. I read “Peak” earlier this year however, I always enjoy getting to empirical sources.

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