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Archive for February 2014

Not Born Into Talent

 

Lëtzebuergesch: De Garri Kasparow géint de Com...

Talent is composed of skills that were highly developed for a specific focus. They don’t necessarily bleed over into other areas in life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Excerpt from the book “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle:

…Instead of using patterns from a real chess game, he set the chess pieces in a random arrangement and reran the test. Suddenly the masters’ advantage vanished. They scored no better than lesser players; in one case, a master chess player did worse than a novice. The master players didn’t have photographic memories; when the game stopped resembling chess, their skills evaporated…

Daniel Coyle, author of the book “The Talent Code“, explains that it is commonly believed that super-talented people, such as world-famous master chess players, are born at birth with superior abilities, such as a superior photographic memory in the case of chess players. This common belief is a false belief. He goes on to explain in the book how it has been debunked. Through simple and clever research experiments, you can show that top talented players have very average abilities in other parts of their lives as soon as the normal patterns of their talent focus disappear. For example, master chess players exhibited very average memory abilities as soon as their mind was asked to deal with anything else outside of chess itself, even though their memory was superior when dealing directly with chess. Had the players been born with superior photographic abilities to hold data in memory then that ability would have exhibited itself in the other areas of that chess player’s life. Instead superior memory was constrained to just the world of chess.

The conclusion of this research is that enhanced memory performance was acquired through training, and not through genetic endowment, through years of dedicated focus. Because of this specialized memory training, their minds could easily recall at lightning speed all the chess patterns they had previously studied.

Here is my application of what Daniel Coyle is saying:

There is the danger that you will start your young person on a wrong talent path. What I mean is that you might invest too much time becoming very good at something which will not matter to your child in his adult life. I’m speaking here in the context of making long-term decisions because one might believe a child was “born” as a soccer player or violin player or mathematician at birth. Since it is not true that a child is born into talent, but rather grown into it, then it stands to reason that you can favor and grow one or more particular skills over other skills. This is good because your child does not have to become a “starving artist” or a girl with an expensive hobby to support. You can confidently banish the belief that whatever small inkling of a talent is detected in a child must automatically be accepted by his parents as his destiny.

So now this is the part where I can help you. If you first accept that talent is indeed grown and not born, then I would like to share with you the logic of how and why you can go about growing some aspects of talent over others in your child’s life (hint: it is not a random selection process). I share that all with you in my downloadable guide entitled “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent

 

 

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Mentors and Parents

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Finding a mentor who is both good at his craft and good at being able to share with a younger person can be a difficult match (photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Quote by Geoffrey Colvin in chapter 5 of his book “Talent is Overrated: What really separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else“:

“in sports generally, seeing the results of practice is no problem…Difficulties arise when the results require interpretation. You may believe you played that bar of the Brahms Violin Concerto perfectly, but can you really trust your own judgment? Or you may think that your rehearsal of a job interview was flawless, but your opinion isn’t what counts. These are situations in which a teacher, coach, or mentor is vital for providing crucial feedback”.

Geoffrey Colvin explains that mentors often play a big role in many of the very talented people. I agree. But actually finding a mentor for your minor child can be a difficult task for you as a parent to accomplish in getting your child to grow in his 10,000 hours of talent. Thankfully not every field of talent needs a traditional mentor, at least not at every point in the process on the path to becoming super-talented. Nonetheless, if you can enlist the help of some type of a mentor for your child, it makes the journey a lot easier.

Here are the two common difficulties when trying to find a suitable mentor or coach for your child:

  • Difficulty #1: finding an expert who has experiences that could actually benefit your child, but who is not willing or capable of sharing with a younger person
  • Difficulty #2: finding an expert who is actually willing to share and has great experiences in the particular talent field, but whose personal life is so out of control that it could inadvertently harm your child

The workaround to difficulty number one can often be found by going online to specialized forums where experts give advice to each other about their talent. They are often willing to dispense kind tips to beginners who are showing themselves serious.

The workaround to difficulty number two can often be found by breaking down the skills into still further sub-skills and then to go find new and different mentors that match up to those sub-skills.

The younger the child, the more you may want to consider the strategy of enlisting the help of multiple mini-coaches or mini-mentors. The older the child, the more your child will be able to sell himself to a skeptical mentor by the evidence of the work he would have already accumulated. The older the child, the more he will also be able to separate a person’s great expertise in one area from any of the mentor’s personal ethical problems that are outside his craft.

Whatever the relationship with mentors, always stay in charge. Do not let yourself be substituted as the parent when giving the ethical direction to your child’s life. A beloved coach or mentor should be respected for the value he adds to your child’s life, but the mentor should not be expected to carry the burden and responsibility of being a substitute parent.

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In the Summer Time of Your Life

 

English: Harvest at Ardgowan While most of the...

There is a season of opportunity for youth that will not normally be repeated – teach your children to seize it! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some Biblical proverbs are listed here below to encourage us to teach our children to be quick about working on the opportunities available so easily and freely to them in their youth – that is, they will reap future rewards far above their peers, if they start acting on them now. The 10,000 hours journey to amazing talent has to start today, before the window to easy opportunities closes.

He that gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely,

but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.

To everything there is a season

and a time to every purpose under heaven.

How long will you lie down, O sluggard?

When will you arise from your sleep?

Your poverty will come in like a vagabond,

and your need like an armed man.

Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,

but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Do you see a man skilled in his work?

He will stand before kings.

He will NOT stand before obscure men.

In all labor there is profit,

but mere talk leads only to poverty.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,

but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

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