Why it’s not all about talent

Talent has been seen for a long time, as the winning factor for a lot of world renound artists, atheletes, musicians, chess grandmasters etc. But a lot of research has been done to go against this, to show that hard work, a lot of the time, trumps talent by miles.

So, what does talent mean?

Natural aptitude or skill

(Aptitude meaning a natural ability)

Why is talent not the dogs bollocks

A chess grand master has learnt to remember thousands upon thousands of combinations in chess, with a technique called chunking (which I will get onto in a minute). A table tennis world champion can react to a smash in two-hundredths of a second, with a tennis player reacting to a serve in four-hundredths of a second. Now a lot of people think these reflexes, or ability to remember mass information/sequences are talent, but this can be argued with some pretty heavy evidence.

Some experiment that was done in the late 20th century carried out to find out how long it took to become world-class. The answer was 10,000 hours. Say you do 2 hours a day every day of the year, thats 13 and a half years. So we will round this to 15 years as the chances of exercising this every day of the year is unlikely.

Now read these letters once, slowly, then look away and try to remember them.


The chances are you managed to remember between 5-7 letters. Now a scientist and an ordinary man set out to remember as many as they can. The man started out remembering 5-7 numbers just like me and you. But after 300 hours of training himself with a technique called chunking, he managed to remember 80 numbers. Then his friend tried it and managed to remember 120 numbers. Now this isn’t raw talent that got him to remember all of these letters, it was pure practice and hard work in a strategic manor.

What is chunking?

Chunking means to divide something into chunks. Now people who remember long sequences of letters or numbers use this method. For example, the man in the previous example who managed to remember 80 numbers, would remember the numbers in chunks, related to times of running. For example 2 10 05, 2:10.5 is a very good time for a marathon, and this is how he remembered the numbers, showing his previous love for running lead to him gaining this skill, no talent involved. People who have to remember long sequences of letters might imagine a house, and try to make small words out of letters to turn into items around a house, then visualise themselves walking around the house.

Now back to chess grandmasters, chess grandmasters practice for an average of 25 years to amount to their level, and will predict up to 15 moves ahead of their current one. They aren’t born with this skill to predict how people will move. They will visualise groups of chess pieces in certain places and remember that sequence being used in previous chess matches.

So this goes to show that anything not related to physical attributes (like a basket ballers height, or a road cyclists lungs) can produce a better outcome when pure graft is used and practiced for a long time.

This also goes to show that people who want quick gains aren’t in the winning aisle. These people who get to the world-class area, who practice for 10+ years to get to where they want to be, are the winners, in it for the long run to become the very best. So for the people who think they can become the best in their industry in a year, or join the olympics by next summer with no practice, have another thing coming. Because the competition is VERY hard as people are finding new techniques to practice and get better.

Do not rush things, you need to have experiences and learn from failure. Get your long term plan together, with short term milestones to get there, and get your fucking head down, determined to get to where you NEED to be to keep your own sanity. And if this isn’t your situation, then your goal, is not the goal of your heart and you should keep looking.

Actions to make immediately

Think of what you want to be the best at, weather your currently doing it or not (this could be a sport like football, or a business owner of a technology company) and find the best person in the world at it (for football this might be Ronaldo, and the technology company might be Elon Musk). Then do 10 minutes to an hour of revision on them. How they got started, what their routines look like, what their secretes are etc. And I bet 9/10 of them will have been born with nothing to help them, and they built it all themselves.

DAILY Inspiration

Why you aren’t too late.

As you are probably aware, being too late is one of the most commonly used excuses given in todays society, and it would be massively hypocritical of me to say I wasn’t in a habit of saying this too.

So, what do I mean by being too late?

The dictionary meaning of late is:

Doing something or taking place after the expected, proper or usual time

– Late

Gaining the ‘not late’ mentality

So this could be trying to start a business, but saying your too late into the market, me being a GREAT example. Here I am trying to improve your life in the extremely over-crowded self-improvement industry, writing a blog, which some of my competitors have been doing for at least a decade. I could easily say I’m too late, but I’m here to offer a better experience than my competitors.

You could be thinking you can’t ask that person to marry you after knowing them for 10 years, that your too old to take up a new career, a new sport or a new skill. Let me tell you this.

  • Somebody can finish university at 21 and not get a job till they’re 26, where somebody else can leave school at 16 and be a millionaire by 21.
  • Somebody can get married at 18, but have a divorce 5 years after, where somebody else can not get married till 30 but find true love and keep them till death tears them apart.
  • Somebody can get cancer at 18, but cure it at 30, where somebody might die instantly at 35 from a car crash.

You are not early.

You are not late.

You are right on time.

Having this mentality will help you to also work harder, giving you less excuses and more reasons to get your head down and graft. Thinking that whatever happens in the future, is meant to happen to get you to where you need to be, but this needs to be controlled by your current actions.

Everybody has their own time zones with their own speed that their clocks tick at. California is 3 hours behind New York, but that doesn’t mean they’re late. Australia is 6 hours ahead of Dubai, yet they are at no greater advantage. Everybody’s clocks are ticking at a different pace, so don’t worry if somebody is advancing at something faster than you, or if your not gaining traction as fast as you’d hoped. There will be a reason why and a reason to improve. So never stop trying and never give up, because your fate is meant to happen, but is malleable to only your touch.

Don’t hesitate to take action. Your not late. Your not early. Your right on time.

Actions to take away from this and implement immediately

You’re going to hear me say this a lot, but LIST!!!

Listing is a killer method of getting from A to B. For todays action, make a list of 5 things you want to accomplish this year. I suggest making them a tad unrealistic, but only a little bit. For example, I’m on 18k a year, but I aim to make 20k this year, how will I make 2k outside of work? A bit unrealistic to make more money than my full time job, but it makes you think harder than having a realistic objective and will make you work harder, hence you actually being more likely to get it than setting a realistic objective.