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 .


 Here are 5 ways to activate and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit in teens and preteens

1.Create Awareness. Not every child is an entrepreneur, but then again how can they be when they don’t even know what the word means. Why would they want to make money when they don't know what money can do.

Children need to be exposed an a early stage to the world of commence. Help them to understand the value of money and that people are rewarded with money for solving problems. Daddy goes to work to solve problems everyday, and he gets paid at the end of the month. Mommy goes to her store every day to solve problems for people and they reward her by paying. Mommy and daddy can then buy lots of wonderful things and services with the money they have made. Please adapt to your child’s age.

You would be surprised at how many 10 year olds do not know the meaning of words like profit, salary, pension or recession. You will be even more surprised how little many teenagers know of the world of commerce.

2. Don't Rain on their Parade. Encourage them with their ideas, don’t tell them their ideas are impossible. How do you know, you haven’t tried it, have you?

Kids come up with crazy ideas all the time and we keep telling them it’s impossible, you can’t do that! If we are not careful, they will eventually become 'normal' like us and stop dreaming.

The next time your child; teen or toddler comes up with an idea, don’t run it down, rather help them develop it into a business they can start at their level, offer capital, offer time, offer marketing (tell all your friends, relatives and co-workers) and help them get on their feet with the idea. If you can't offer any of the above, offer encouragement.

3. Praise Praise Praise! When your kids take steps in the entrepreneurial direction, praise them. Complement their effort, tell them how proud you are. Take pictures, tell grandma and grandpa. Celebrate!

4. Encourage Independence. Don't try to micro-manage or push kids into interests you feel they should be pursuing. You should rather accept they are individuals and have their own strengths, weakness interests and talents.

As parents, our job is to make the tools available; resources, education,encouragement. These provide exposure, however, the eventual choice will be up to them. Do not get frustrated if they move on to new interests. That's what this period of their life is for - Self discovery.

5. Show them the future. If you don’t have a dream, How can you have a dream come true. There is nothing as enlightening as knowing others have walked the path you walk and succeeded. Tell your child about the Wright brothers (people thought they were crazy to even dream about flying back then). Tell her about Oprah, about Facebook’s Zuckerberg. Also, buy them books that encourage the possibilities Recommended books - Can Do , Can Do Journal.

Posted on March 26, 2013 .