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The Talent Code

The Talent Code

  1. Talent requires deep practice;
  2. Deep practice requires vast amounts of energy;
  3. Primal cues trigger huge outpourings of energy. Safety and future belonging are two powerful primal cues.

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Deep Practice

Deep Practice

  • Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter.
  • Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go—end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it.

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How A Skill Is Formed?

How A Skill Is Formed?

  1. Every human movement, thought, or feeling is a precisely timed electric signal traveling through a chain of neurons—a circuit of nerve fiber.
  2. Myelin is the insulation that wraps these nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy.
  3. The more we fire a particular circuit, the more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become.

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Why is targeted, mistake-focused practice so effective?

Why is targeted, mistake-focused practice so effective?

Because the best way to build a good circuit is to fire it, attend to mistakes, then fire it again, over and over. Struggle is not an option: it's a biological requirement : in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay.

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SAMUEL BECKETT

"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

SAMUEL BECKETT

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Why are passion and persistence key ingredients of talent?

Why are passion and persistence key ingredients of talent?

  • Because wrapping myelin around a big circuit requires immense energy and time. If you don't love it, you'll never work hard enough to be great.
  • The more we develop a skill circuit, the less we're aware that we're using it. We're built to make skills automatic, to stash them in our unconscious mind .

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ARISTOTLE

Excellence is a habit.

ARISTOTLE

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Why Are Habits Hard To Break?

Why Are Habits Hard To Break?

Myelin wraps it doesn't unwrap. Like a highway-—paving machine, myelination happens in one direction. Once a skill circuit is insulated, you can't uninsulate it (except through age or disease). That's why habits are hard to break. The only way to change them is to build new habits by repeating new behaviors—by myelinating new circuits.

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10,000 Hours Of Deep Practice

10,000 Hours Of Deep Practice

Every expert in every field is the result of around ten thousand hours of committed practice. Ericsson called this process "deliberate practice" and defined it as working on technique, seeking constant critical feedback, and focusing ruthlessly on shoring up weaknesses.

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DANIEL COYLE

“High motivation is not the kind of language that ignites people. What works is precisely the opposite: not reaching up but reaching down, speaking to the ground-level effort, affirming the struggle.”

DANIEL COYLE

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RULE ONE: CHUNK IT UP

RULE ONE: CHUNK IT UP

  • ABSORB THE WHOLE THING. This means spending time staring at or listening to the desired skill.
  • It sounds rather Zen, but it basically amounts to absorbing a picture of the skill until you can imagine yourself doing it.

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RULE TWO: REPEAT IT

RULE TWO: REPEAT IT

  • There is, biologically speaking, no substitute for attentive repetition.
  • Myelin is living tissue. Like everything else in the body, it's in a constant cycle of breakdown and repair. That's why daily practice matters, particularly as we get older.

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VLADIMIR HOROWITZ (PIANIST)

"If I skip practice for one day, I notice.

If I skip practice for two days, my wife notices.

If I skip for three days, the world notices."

VLADIMIR HOROWITZ (PIANIST)

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RULE THREE : LEARN TO FEEL IT

RULE THREE : LEARN TO FEEL IT

Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it's about seeking out a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.

1. Pick a target.

2. Reach for it.

3. Evaluate the gap between the target and the reach.

4. Return to step one.

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Why does slowing down work so well?

Why does slowing down work so well?

  • Going slow allows you to attend more closely to errors, creating a higher degree of precision with each firing—and when it comes to growing myelin, precision is everything.
  • "I am slow to learn and slow to forget what I have learned," Lincoln wrote. "My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out."

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Future Belonging

Future Belonging

  • Ignition: The moments that lead us to say that is who you want to be. We usually think of passion as an inner quality. But it is something that came first from the outside world.
  • Future belonging is a primal cue.
  • It's not as simple as saying I want X. It's rather saying: I want X later, so I better do Y like crazy right now.

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DANIEL COYLE

“See someone you want to become? Better get busy. Want to catch up with a desirable group? Better get busy.”

DANIEL COYLE

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Ocean Of Cues

Ocean Of Cues

Brains are always looking for a cue as to where to spend energy now. Now? Now? We're swimming in an ocean of cues, constantly responding to them, but like fish in water, we just don't see it."

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DANIEL COYLE

"If we're in a nice, easy, pleasant environment, we naturally shut off effort, Why work? But if people get the signal that it's rough, they get motivated now. A nice, well-kept tennis academy gives them the luxury future right now—of course they'd be demotivated. They can't help it."

DANIEL COYLE

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"A good curated idea should be like a girl's skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest."

Greatness isn't born, it's grown. Here's how.....

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