Monday, November 30, 2020

Distracted by Talent?


"Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential." 
Angela Duckworth

One of the chapters in Angela Duckworth’s book, GRIT, is entitled Distracted by Talent.  It is one of my favorite chapters in a very good book.  What I like about it is that it accurately identifies a tendency that we all have to explain success through talent, as is someone is born with a knack for something which they have identified and their giftedness is what is responsible for their success.  She correctly suggests that talent and natural ability do exist, but that ability contributes only in a small way to success, the more significant factor is hard work.  Of course, to a large extent one must have grit to persevere through hours of work without immediate success.  The book goes on to uncover the ingredients of grit – how some people become grittier than others.

Interestingly, one of the tools which she mentions in the book that people use to become gritty is to have a coach.  When left to our own motivation to keep going and do a little more, we tend to quit early.  A coach can help you work a bit longer, to be more focused on how to improve.  We become grittier when we have someone to push us.