Archive for July 2013

Wrap a Very Different Skill Around Core Art Skill

Stop starving artists

Stop starving artists: wrap another very different skill around your daughter’s core art skill (Photo credit: mayhem)

Great example of the 10,000 hour principle where this mother calculates her daughter has already accumulated thousands of those hours and become a really good illustrator. By the evidence, her 16 year old daughter has mastered an old, standby-core skill, and has additionally wrapped it in a modern digital medium. Here’s my 10ktotalent tip: if she hasn’t already, I would then recommend that her daughter leverage one of her family’s goals, one of her environmental assets, and then gradually find a market focus, by adding another very different skill from a completely different field. Ideally she wants to keep wrapping other sub-skills around her art in such a way that others will be willing to pay her for her talent and hesitate to call her just an illustrator, because the term would be too limiting. Her immediate danger is that she will be recruited too soon by an art school who will try to socialize her into something that is not useful to others (turning her art only into a private hobby) or training her to be good at a specific art production that is already over-crowded with other already great artists (becoming the proverbial starving artist).

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Reasons for Hobbies that Do Not Matter

Couch Potato

Without a talent focus, the only answer is group sports and cute hobbies – but it then creates problems later in early adulthood (Photo credit: Furryscaly)

Here are the common reasons parents sign-up their child for cute hobbies and group sports that are NOT talent related:

  • child is restless and needs something to keep him from boredom
  • don’t have anything in common to do or talk about in the evenings so it’s easier to drop child off at soccer or basketball
  • worried about child not being physically active enough after sitting in a classroom all day
  • worried child won’t make friends unless he’s involved in the same activity as everyone else

Those are some good reasons to address, but you don’t need to address them by sacrificing your child’s ability to have enough time to develop a real talent. With a serious talent focus, he can gain all of the above (motivation, friends, reasons for moving his body, and an interesting personality that even you will want to be around), AND, in addition, gain a meaningful productive life in early adulthood. The exception might be if your child’s talent does not involve anything physical, in which case, you may still need to get him out the door.

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Visualize Part of Your Child’s Future Talent


For my daughter who is heading down more of an art-related path, I inspired myself by typing the following keywords in the Google search engine for images:

watercolor children’s illustrations fairy tale -anime

What you will see are hundreds of thumbnails of illustrations that have a watercolor art style and in the process of telling a story. Though she is not at that level of ability, those images are currently very reflective of how she communicates through art. Add and remove keywords until the search results start reflecting part of an ideal productive potential for your child; in my case I removed “anime” by typing a minus sign next to it.  Note that my daughter will still need to add modern skills to her core art skill to be of market value to others.



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No Longer Be Boring

Zanzibar Postage Stamp

Why choose a canned geography curriculum when you could use your grandfather’s stamp collection to study geography? Play up your family’s uniqueness and your child will no longer be boring (Photo credit: write99)

If you live in a little community by the river, why do you drive into the city to take a basketball camp instead of enjoying a water-rat lifestyle? If the elderly grandfather who lives with you has an amazing international collection of postage stamps that he has collected over a lifetime, why are you insisting on discarding it in favor of buying a curriculum package for geography that has no emotional connection to your family? I would rather get to know your child who hikes and builds forts regularly along the edges of the river and the child who tells me about the changing world through his grandfather’s stamps, than spend any five minutes talking to a child who has followed the canned educational life. So stop trying to downplay your family’s uniqueness and instead play them up into your child’s life and into the construction of an interesting talent.

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The Courage to Make Decisions

Runner on Blue Trail

The growing ability to make his own way, to be decisive, is an enormous side-benefit to the child who is talent focused (Photo credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission)

There is at first only a subtle difference in evidence between the talent-driven child and the traditional curriculum-driven child with regards to that strength of character known as decisiveness. Parents tend to overlook that difference at first as simply a quirk in personalities and only see that both are otherwise hard-working.  But then that trait of decisiveness starts compounding daily and yearly into such amazing strength that it clearly sorts the children between decision-makers and those that wait for work instructions. That character of decisiveness will manifest itself as:

  • the ability to make priorities
  • the ability to be swift to commit to a different course of action when needed
  • the ability to recognize the emotional and physical dangers in a specific field of human talent
  • the ability to act in a comprehensive way that earns respect from others
  • the ability to communicate with others in the language of ownership and responsibility
  • the courage to make decisions in the face of incomplete knowledge.
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Don’t Apologize

English: Panhandler in Oceanside, California.

Don’t let your child be a panhandler for compliments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Train your child not to apologize for what is not his responsibility because it wears down on the goodwill of your child’s admirers. An example is “I’m sorry I don’t have a stronger voice like this other famous singer, but I will still sing for you this song I’m practicing.” False apologies  make your child come across as someone who is fishing for compliments and sympathy when such feedback is not yet owed to him. If in the course of documenting through video an aspect of your child’s performance, there is a slightly embarrassing part that your child did or said (such as having forgotten to take care of a distracting tuck of the shirt), but feel the rest of the content is still worthy, then it’s okay to apologize. Your child apologizing for not having rich enough parents to buy even bigger or better tools for his talent is not okay, because it is not his responsibility or his fault.

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My New Project is Coming

My new project is a detailed e-guide on how your child can blog to demonstrate and document the progress in his talent.


Name Ten Things to Learn to Do

Moeraki Boulders

What are those ten things he can learn do this coming year that will allow your child to connect with experts? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are ten things your child could learn to do in the following year that would demonstrate to an expert that your child is serious about his talent? If you can name those ten things, you will be able to identify the next actions your child need to take to make them happen. Instead of randomly engaging in one or another task, your child will be able to pave the way to connecting with more advanced individuals in his field. To help you find out what those ten things would be in your field of talent, start asking the experts directly. And a very good place to find willing experts to respond to such questions would be in dedicated self-help Internet forums.

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Does Your Child Have a Tag Line for his Talent?

Halo halo

Halo halo dessert for American palates: is your child’s talent interest getting specific enough for action (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As your child progresses in developing a talent, you can discover more actions he can take by creating a tag line for his talent, just like a business does for the service it provides. A tag line is a summary phrase that is catchy enough to be easily remembered by others and unique enough to describe some specific value being brought to others. So for example, a son with a growing baking and cooking talent, may grow a tag line that reads “baking Asian cuisine for California-fresh palates”. This tag line would help others resonate with him in his aspirations and would create a natural list of next actions that your child should undertake in order to become much better. Who would you think is more likely to be acting on his talent on a daily basis: a child who states that his interest is baking in general or a child that says he is trying to become better today at baking Asian dishes to please American tastes?

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Passwords Your Child Can Remember

English: CryptoCard security token, displaying...

So many websites, so many passwords. Do you have a system for remembering your child’s passwords? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to create passwords that both you and your child can remember:

  • First, create a memorable phrase that has at least seven words:

“apple pie for breakfast and dinner”

  • Second, string the first letters of each word in that phrase together and add a digit of your choosing to the end of it:


You know have the root of your password that your child will be using for each login.

  • Third, when you are ready to create a new account and password, simply remember your root password and add onto the end of it the first letter of the website’s name. So for example, if you were create a gmail account on the website for, your password would then become:




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