Yes, that is fact.
I have that book by Geoff Colvin sitting on my desk and I have read a bunch of other articles on the subject of late but many books like “Talent is Overrated” were all written based on K. Anders Ericsson’s “The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance“. Think “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell or Daniel Coyle’s “The Talent Code“.
Why this relates to YOU.
You may not be what you consider a talented triathlete. Sure you may have a strength and no doubt some weaknesses in different areas.
We all do.
What I want to get across is that you don’t need talent to become a great ironman triathlete. You can grow that ability.
What you need is time, focus, discipline all bundled up with the right attitude and willingness to do the work, while showing up ready to deliberately practice and not just go through the motions.
Add clarity to your goal and do not give up when the inevitable ‘failures’ happen … Lets not kid ourselves because they will.
I want YOU to know its possible. I know many a talented athlete that never became successful and a load of ‘non talented’ athletes that have worked hard and believed it is possible and done the seemingly impossible.
Be that type of athlete.
What I know from experience is that when you keep on ‘practicing’, you’ll get better. A focused month from now and you’ll be better than you were and you’ll have more confidence. If you’re willing to do what it takes – every day – then you’ll improve. It doesn’t matter what the skill is … if you put in the time you’ll get better.
For example, Charlotte and I want to learn French but not just a few words .. fluency … but if we’re truly serious then we need to dedicate time every day for practice following a method that has shown success.. For that we chose the Pimsleur method but there is more to just the practice… which I’ll get to below.
A ?lot of people believe there are some inherent limits they? were born with, Ericsson told The New?York Times. But there is surprisingly little hard? evidence that anyone could attain any kind of exceptional? performance without spending a lot of time perfecting it.
I’m not saying that with practice we can all be the next Pete Jacobs – some people like PJ, Crowie, Chrissie and many others are definitely born with some extra gifts … however each of them only realised their potential because they have put in many hours of practice and doing what it takes. And if they didn’t, they could easily be beat by someone without the natural talent but is willing to do the work. Like I said above, I know many a naturally talented athlete that never made the big leagues.
Time and tenacity is all it takes.
The million dollar questions are: 1. What do you really want? 2. Are you will to put time and tenacious effort into the achievement of that want?
Those two questions are extremely important.
You know I love repetition. Repetition + deliberate practice will help you achieve the performances you want.
But to get there you need to set specific goals – instead of saying “I want to get to Kona” change that to “I’m a Kona qualifier and finisher.” Even better would be to put a date on it and for Charlotte and I we could say, “I’ll be able to hold a simple conversation in French.”
You have to get feedback – and this means working with a coach or mentor. They give you the needed tools and instructions to focus so you don’t get waylaid with all the noise. Having a coach can shorten the curve dramatically and all the very best athletes, movie stars, and business people have a coach or mentor in their corner. That person will help you fine tune your game and make you accountable. I have a business mentor to help me with my goals and even though I’m the one paying him, I don’t want to let him down. This keeps me focused and accountable.
Finally we can add concentrating on technique or as Ericsson puts it concentrating on technique as an outcome – basically I believe it means perfect practice makes perfect and this comes from focus and learning how to feel what you’re doing. Using the right tools and sessions to develop what it is that is needed to be developed.