Cranking Out What We Already Know How to Do

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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“:

…work, like deliberate practice, is often mentally demanding and tiring. But that’s typically not because of the intense focus and concentration involved. Rather, it’s more often a result of long hours cranking out what we already know how to do. And if we’re exhausted from that, the prospect of spending additional hours on genuine deliberate practice activities seems too miserable to contemplate.

Geoffrey Colvin goes into detail as why working as an employee for someone is not a substitute to having a personal plan to develop your talent. Hard repetitious work can be confused for skill development because both can drain you emotionally and physically. You are normally hired to do something you are already capable to do task wise. You just need a few pointers to get started and then after that, your employer’s goal, is to get you to be as productive as possible by doing the same thing over and over.

By definition, if you are repeating what you already know what to do very well, then you are not growing in your talent. This means that if a young adult does not have a plan for deliberately pushing the boundaries of what he does and knows outside of what he is hired to do, he will often get stuck for years on end at the same level of performance. This is why I recommend regular conversations with your child on how get himself to the next level of his performance. One way to do that is by getting him comfortable with looking at and owning the big picture of where his talent can take him through the use of a mind map.