Talent V Practice

BounceDo you believe you could do anything you want to?

Or do you believe some people have talents they are born with that go on to make them good at sport or art or origami?

I’m reading an interesting book called Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by a guy called Matthew Syed who was a world championship table tennis player.  He challenges the idea of ‘talent’ instead suggesting that it’s practice that makes world champions and indeed anyone good at what they do.  And by practice we’re talking years of practice, 10,000 hours of practice in fact.

I’m only half way through it so I’m still quite sceptical still but it has got me thinking.  I’ve always believed I’m rubbish at sport but actually I’m quite good at accurately throwing and catching a ball.  And then I remembered how I used to spend hours and hours when I was a child hitting a ball against a wall at the side of the house.  But what I didn’t do was the same number of hours playing football, tennis, hockey or other sport.

I also thought I was rubbish at running… as evidenced by very poor school sports day performances!  A couple of years I started running and managed to build up to a 5k.  Not something that will set the world on fire but a personal achievement.  I then stopped for a year because of shin splints but I recently started again and did my first 5k faster than I did before, then my second one I did faster again.  I put this down to being fitter but could it be all the practice to get to that first 5k a few years ago was still in play?  What about the fact I knew I could do it now so I pushed myself harder?  Or a bit of both?

I don’t think the book is suggesting that anyone can do absolutely anything but it is saying that on an equal playing field the person that puts in the serious practice and hard work is the one that will excel.

I do like the idea that if you keep trying, keep focused and keep working hard that you will achieve what you want, it’s a just a matter of time.

It’s certainly given me something to think about and will no doubt continue to do so as I read more.

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4 Responses to “Talent V Practice”

  1. Anne Graham Says:

    Snap! I’ve just written about the same book on my website. Have a look at latest articles or search ‘Keep bouncing’

    • swilloughby Says:

      I can see how the theory applies to music Anne, I’m struggling with the application in business but always useful to have new views on things to shake it up!

  2. quiddoo Says:

    It’s a very optimistic idea and I do think that the most you practice the better you’ll be in every aspect of your life. But at the same time, I do believe that some people have a gift in some areas and if you join this with hard work then you can see the differences with the rest of us.

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