Talent is not Enough

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.’
Matthew 25:29 (NLT)

As parents we look for talent in our children and hope they can become a little more than ordinary, possessing some special talent that will provide them an opportunity to make ‘something of themselves’. Sometimes we find some interest, or skill and other times we conclude that our children are ordinary. However, sooner or later we conclude they have no talent or perhaps not enough talent to become a professional or star in that field. But hold on, before you come to that conclusion, do you know that that there is such a thing as the 10,000 hour rule? Read on.

Excellence is a function of way more than talent. Studies have shown that providing the right environment and opportunities play a big role in the level of success that a child attains in adult life.

Here are 3 steps to raising your child into a champion.

1. Observation: I believe every child has a measure of talent. This is the starting point. Take the time to observe your child from an early age for where their interest lie. This might take some time. Every child has a talent/gift, something they are good at, that they do with ease, that they enjoy doing. It takes a dedicated and observant parent to discover this. Sometimes, it more glaring, but many times, you need to patiently observe. Expect some trial and error, and be willing to move on if your child starts to dread an activity they initially expressed great interest in.

2. Exposure: once you have discovered where the child’s interest lies, the next step is to expose the child to influences in that field, this could range from classes and movies to books, mentors, fairs, exhibitions etc. Bill Gates was exposed to computers at an early age in his primary school.

3. 10,000 Hours: Here comes the hard work. Hours of practicing is the single differentiating factor between laymen and professionals, it is the horning of skills, by commitment of time, to practice, practice, practice. Detailed studies as those highlighted in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, reveal the amazing outcome of practising a skill to the 10,000 hour mark (a typical example is practicing 8 hours a day, 5 days a week from Age 7-15). The 10,000 hour rule is a testament to the fact that practice makes perfect. It dispels the myth that a person can survive on talent alone. Talent requires hard work. It requires practice. This is what distinguishes the champions from the crowd!

Posted on December 20, 2014 .