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Talent Is Overrated
What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
People put in years at their job, and would be embarrassed at how little time they'd spent with friends or family or their real interests. But often they don't get any better than they were when they started for example - auditors detecting fraud, psychologists judging personality disorders, parole officers predicting recidivism or stockbrokers recommending investments. Sometimes they get worse - experienced doctors routinely worse at interpreting xrays or at being up to date with medicine.
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Key to improvement is deliberate practice - high repetitions, constant feedback, stretch.
Today's athletes miles better not because stronger, but because they've figured out how to train more effectively.
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Two talent myths - Mozart and Tiger Woods. Mozart's father was himself a famous composer who was deeply interested in pedagogy. Most of Mozart's early compositions are just rearrangements of other's works, and are rarely performed today.
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Tiger's father retired from the Army so had time for a project. Nobody suggested that he had any innate talent - just an intense desire to make his father happy.
We have 3 zones: comfort zone (too easy so automatic), learning zone and panic zone (too hard so not learning anything). Identifying the learning zone is hard, and so is forcing yourself to stay there as it changes.
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GE have now figured out that their best managers are the ones who have stayed in one place long enough to get 'deep knowledge' - to experience all the things which can go wrong and learn what works. Where management has been churned, their businesses failed.
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