Talent is Overrated
In Talent is Overrated, the author argues that world-class performers are not genetically gifted. The difference between world-class performers and the rest of us? Lots of deliberate practice. (Read the article.)
I have no interest in becoming Mozart, or Tiger Woods (oh, and that ship has sailed long ago) but it's not to late for anyone to do one of two things:
- Achieve proficiency in a current skill
- Learn something completely new
Since no one attempts to master or dominate most things that they do, there is tremendous opportunity for you to separate yourself from your peers. Or make big improvements in something because you want to.
The key to either of this is learning how to apply the concept of deliberate practice to the field.
The First 20 Hours
In The First 20 Hours, the author lays out a framework for achieving proficiency in a new field in twenty hours of deliberate practice.
He lays out a reusable approach to any skill. Learning a skill with skill is extremely appealing to me. Taking the "talent is overrated" approach
Ten practices of rapid skills acquisition:
- Choose a lovable project
- Focus your energy on one skill at a time
- Define your target performance level
- Deconstruct the skill into subskills
- Obtain critical tools
- Eliminate barriers to practice
- Make dedicated time for practice
- Create fast feedback loops
- Practice by the clock in short bursts
- Emphasize quality and speed
He covers a lot in the book, but it is a quick read.
I'm eager to apply these methods to some projects soon. My first project? Programming. I've been messing around with programming for a while, but I'd like to make a small but dedicated push on it.
My first task is getting an environment set up on my computer where I can do the things required to create and publish anything I create, no matter how simple. It's not the easiest to install.