Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Talent Code, 10,000 Hours to Success

How often do you read a book that changes your life?

When you do, it is hard to pull back from the experience without sharing it with others. So often, my experience has been, the second I mention a book to a friend or associate I might as well have said this book is the kiss of death. Stay away from it. I could be wrong but so often their facial expression looks exactly like an evil sneer.

I hardly bring up the subject anymore, though my reading has become exceedingly vociferous. My old t-shirt I still wear at bedtime says,"So many books, So little time." Every year it has more meaning to me.

The book in question here is The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. It has been out awhile but I only discovered it for myself a few months ago. The spirit of the book still follows me where ever I go or whatever I'm doing. It sneaks up on me like a rift from a favorite piece of music. What I hear it my head are the good parts, the profound parts, the notes that ring my own personal bell inside my skull cinema. I play them over and over again, never tiring of the joy they bring me.

Does that make sense to you?

The book explores the relationship between deep practice and repetition of whatever subject, sport or desired talent floats your boat. The discussion becomes a bit technical and involves the introduction of a white matter we all possess in our bodies called myelin. It is actually a strand of fibers that becomes stronger as we improve whatever skill set we happen to be working on. As these strands of fiber grow and continue to be wrapped in solid material we become more adept at what ever skill we happen to be working on or toward.

As a child I was in the era of those who were born with a so-called natural ability of physical achievement that the rest of us were not privy to. It was said "he has a built in ability to play baseball...she has a natural tendency to play the flute...he is a musical virtuoso...she is a prodigy on the piano. Take that even over to today, so-called modern times..."he is an over night sensation...musically, spiritually, in books, in swimming, in the playing of the violin, in political savvy." All you have to do is fill in the blank _____.

All one has to do to become an over-night success, according to The Talent Code is be willing to focus your energies on what you really love to do. It requires at least 10,000 hours of  "Deep Practice" that allows you to learn and become more proficient in your skill with every mistake you make. That myelin material becomes stronger and stronger with every milestone you achieve in your quest for perfection.

As Grant Writers we too become more and more efficient in the way we process information. Learning from our mistakes makes us stronger every time we apply our skill set to a new Proposal or RFP announcement.

This may sound like old news. I say it is NEW to me. For the first time since I was a child I believe we are all equal in our abilities to achieve our dreams and goals. IF and that is a BIG IF, if we continue to practice our skills with a greater sense of ability achieved each and every time we use our strengthening set of skills. We too must put in our 10,000 hours and fail and learn from our mistakes, wrapping our myelin with corded strength.

Want to be the BEST at something? The corniest question of all is still the truest and best example of all Daniel Coyle brings out in his brilliant book.

"How to you get to Carnegie Hall?"  Well, Practice...Practice...Practice, of course.

It is still about 10,000 hours away, if you are just beginning your journey.

There is no such thing as failure when we continue to practice and hone our skills to almost perfection.

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