Video Book Club – Talent is Overrated March 9 2010

Have you ever watched a great musician or athlete or speaker and say, “Wow, they must have been born with so much talent, I could never do that.”  Well, don’t be so sure about that. As Geoff Colvin explains in his book, Talent Is Overrated, the difference between you and that person you admire basically comes down to one thing – practice and lots of it.

In this week’s Video Book Club review, I show off one of my most prized possessions, my red bass guitar to make a point about why I ended up being a coach instead of a rock star. Colvin actually explains it all in his book.  I’ve practiced coaching a lot more than I’ve practiced the bass. The good thing about Colvin’s book is he offers useful advice for how to get better at the things you’re most passionate about.

Once you understand where Colvin’s coming from, you start seeing his point popping up everywhere. For instance, there’s a great special on HBO this month about how Magic Johnson and Larry Bird changed the NBA. It turns out that two of the greatest in the game’s history played basketball none stop from an early age. In Magic’s case, he shot hoops on the playground every morning from 6:00 am to 7:00 am before he caught the bus to school.

So, take a look at the video. I want to show you my beautiful bass and offer a few more tips from Colvin’s book.

2 Responses to “Video Book Club – Talent is Overrated”

  1. Marc Sokol says:

    Great post! Malcolm Gladwell makes a similar argument about practice in his book, Outliers.

    Scott, I like the focus on deliberate practice (before, during and after) that extends beyond the actual time performing. Athletes extend their learning through visual training and continued reflection/ analysis of their actions. Any sports psychologist or coach will encourage them to break down the perfect jump or run and see how they can more easily replicate that.

    Where coaches like you, Scott, add value beyond what Colvin and Gladwell describe is that you also build the capacity for self-reflection as you coach. So in effect there are two types of practice occurring – one is the targeted skill (how to play guitar, how to inspire your team, etc); the second is how to maximize your learning over time and improve your capacity to self-reflect.

    And that's how some clients get double the value from working with a skilled coach!

  2. TheLeaderLab says:

    Great point on practice.

    Oh, and that axe is killer.

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