More importantly, is it possible for you to learn anything at any age regardless of your memory, past experience, or intelligence level?
These questions and more are all answered in the following list of books on talent taken right from my book shelf:
1. Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin
“The gifts possessed by the best performers are not at all what we think they are. They are certainly not enough to explain the achievements of such people – and that’s if these gifts exist at all. Some researchers now argue that specifically targeted innate abilities are simply fiction. That is, you are not a natural-born clarinet virtuoso or car salesman or bond trader or brain surgeon – because no one is.”
2. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle
“This book is about a simple idea: Clarissa and the talent hotbeds are doing the same thing. They have tapped into a neurological mechanism in which certain patterns of targeted practice build skill. Without realizing it, they have entered a zone of accelerated learning that, while it can’t quite be bottled, can be accessed by those who know how. In short, they’ve cracked the talent code.”
3. The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle
“We are often taught that talent begins with genetic gifts – that the talented are able to effortlessly perform feats the rest of us can only dream about. This is false. Talent begins with brief, powerful encounters that spark motivation by linking your identity to a high-performing person or group. This is called ignition, and it consists of a tiny, world-shifting thought lighting up your unconscious mind: I could be them.“
4. Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results by John C. Maxwell
“Talent is often overrated and frequently misunderstood. French poet and dramatist Edoubard Pailleron pointed out, ‘Have success and there will always be fools to say that you have talent.’ When people achieve great things, others often explain their accomplishments by simply attributing everything to talent. But that is a false and misleading way of looking at success. If talent alone is enough, then why do you and I know highly talented people who are not highly successful?”
5. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
“Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into the top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
6. Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed
“The aim of the first part of this book is to convince you that Ericsson is right; that talent is not what you think it is; that you can accomplish all manner of things that seem so far beyond your current capabilities as to occupy a different universe. But this will not be a wishy-washy exercise in the power of positive thinking. Rather, the arguments will be grounded in recent findings in cognitive neuroscience that attest to the way the body and mind can be transformed with specialized practice.”
Talent is Created, Not Inherited
For many years, I have truly believed that talent is not something you are born with. It is created. This is available to anyone, at any age, regardless of your circumstances.
It’s not a matter of good fortune or luck, it’s a matter of developing the right attitude and mind set. There is just no other explanation why me, the most average person out there with no other musicians in the family, and all of my students are able to read and play music successfully.
There is nothing special about any of us except that we believe anyone can do it and do it rather well. It turns it, that’s all you need. If you are willing to work hard, practice regularly, and believe in yourself, then you can create your own talent too.
I can now finally take a sigh of relief. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find books sighting the latest research in a way that confirms something you knew all along from your own personal experience.
Who knows? Maybe people won’t think I’m too crazy after all in my thinking on talent. Or, maybe not. I guess you can’t win them all.
Hey, if you still think I’m a little crazy, then check out these books for yourself and decide what you want to believe about talent. Do you think talent is something you are born with? What do you think?