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You Will Become Clever Through Your Mistakes

You know how we say, when someone succeeds, that they are just talented and we sometimes woefully add “I wish I could do the same” or “It was so easy for them because of ____ (fill in some happy circumstance of your choice: their age, the way they grew up, how smart they are etc etc)”. I have come to believe that talent has nothing to do with it. It’s all about putting in the hours, being motivated and staying consistent. This was an idea that Malcolm Gladwell explored in his books, claiming that every successful individual - including The Beatles and Bill Gates, among many others - have practiced for 10,000 hours before they reached their success. I recently read a book called “Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle that looks at this phenomenon as well. He speaks of combining three elements to “crack the talent code”: deep practice, ignition and master coaching. Something ignites your passion and you start practicing diligently, making mistakes along the way, and the mistakes keep making you smarter. Observing individuals as they practice, he says that “they are purposely operating at the edges of their ability, so they will screw up. And somehow screwing up is making them better.” I grew to love that phrase: “operating at the edges of your ability”. And the fact that you will become clever through your mistakes. So many times we give up, or we say that it’s too hard, or we convince ourselves that we can’t do it because we’re not smart enough or brave enough or whatever enough, but that’s not true at all. The truth is that we can all do whatever we want, be whoever we want to be, have whatever we want. It takes practice and commitment, but it’s always possible.


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