📖Talent is Overrated

Colvin, Geoff
  • “Experience trap”—people with experience do not perform better than those with very little experience (some even perform worse) → Experience Trap

  • world-class performance drastically increased since some 100-200 years---because we study more effectively

  • financial capital is no longer a scarce resource---human ability is

  • global human ability market

  • there is a research showing the talent does not exist (or irrelevant to top-level performance)

  • no genes identifying talent were found yet

  • There is little or no correlation between high performance and IQ

  • High performers remember well real-world arrangements, but are “normal” on random tests → Mental models make things easier to remember

  • Football players spend little time playing football—most of time is devoted to training which has little to do with the game itself → Deliberate Practice might not be directly related to the target activity

  • train for

    • specific needs

    • on his own (much of work)

    • no fun

  • Deliberate Practice: → Signs of Deliberate Practice

    • designed specifically to improve performance

      • (might be designed with the help of teacher)

      • (teacher can observe you from the outside)

    • at limits (but not much beyond)

      • (choose a specific aspect that needs improvements)

    • can be repeated a lot

    • continuously available feedback

      • (teacher can provide feedback)

    • highly demanding mentally or heavily physical

      • (4/5 hours/day)

      • (60-90 minutes sessions)

    • isn’t much fun

  • There is nothing magical about 10,000 hours (it’s just an average number of hours best violinist have by age 20) → 10,000 Hours Rule

  • Best performers do not perform on auto-pilot or automatically—they think through what they’re doing

  • Look ahead in the future (try predicting and playing through different situations)

  • how to

    • Know where you want to go (role-model after a better performer)

    • Practice directly

      • Music model

        • repeat the same thing multiple times

      • Chess model

        • solve problem and compare solution

      • Sports model

        • general skills (like fitness, etc.)

          • useful for repetitive but unpredictable conditions

    • Practicing in the work (self-regulation)

      • before

        • set goals

        • plan how to reach

      • in process

        • self-observation

      • after

        • self-evaluation (search for errors)

    • Deepening your knowledge (domain knowledge)

    • Mental model

  • For organizations:

    • understand that each person in organization is not just doing a job, but is also been stretched and grown

    • find ways to develop leaders withing their jobs

      • use short-term job assignments (additional to main job)

    • encourage their leaders to be active in their communities

    • understand the critical roles of teachers and of feedback

      • after-action review, honest feedback

    • identify promising performers early

    • understand that people development works best through inspiration, not authority

    • invest significant time, money, and energy in developing people

    • make leadership development part of the culture

    • develop teams, not just individuals

      • problems:

        • picking the wrong team members

        • low trust

        • competing agendas

        • unresolved conflicts

        • unwillingness to face real issues

  • Innovation is neither spontaneous, nor requires no knowledge. These are both myths. In reality, innovation requires extensive knowledge of the field and builds gradually.

  • Innovation also requires direction. Being “more creative” or “better” does not give a clue of what need to be achieved.

  • Innovation is better done using internal Motivation, rather than external stimulation (as anything else?)

  • Deliberate Practice stops aging effect in the related skills

  • Multiplier effect—small initial advancement in skill pushes to the new environment that advances the skill further, fueling the loop.