Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talent: Practice Doing What You Love, and Loving Your Work

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

- Steve Jobs (addressing Stanford University students in 2005)


For a long time, there has been raging debate on the roles of both talent and practice in success. The ScienCentral Archive has a lengthy article that seeks to answer the question: Is talent something you're born with or can practice really make you perfect? You can read the entire article on Talent vs Practice here. Consider the following excerpt:
"Experts on expertise - who've studied the minds of experts in fields from sports to medicine - have the answer... that anyone with the right kind of practice will be able to dramatically improve their performance and it looks like they would be able to become experts with sufficient practice. "

In an article on expert performance and deliberate practice, K. Anders Ericsson underscores the notion that a high level of improvement can be achieved by deliberate practice. Experts are therefore able to find areas for improvement and focus their time and effort practising and improving those areas. That is what sets them apart form ordinary average persons. He writes,
“A lot of people like to do things that they’re already good at, but what deliberate practice says is that you need to find those things that you are weak at, since there’s room for improvement. That’s the activity you should focus on...”

As we seek to make ourselves better, brighter, faster, stronger, happier, healthier and smarter; we need to realize that the difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is that little 'extra'. We can rise above our apparent limitations by practising.

One of the adverts I find inspiring focuses on 'the source of talent'. Following is the video and entire copy of the Wesbank TV ad.

WESBANK (The Source of Talent) TV ad

A recent study asked,
"Where does talent come from?"
Is it programmed at birth into a select few
Or is it something,
that can be drawn from you inch by inch?
Does it show itself a little more
Every time you challenge yourself?
What the study found was,
"Practice makes perfect"

Let us purpose to make the most of our talents. For those who find themselves in jobs that seemingly suck, learn how to love your work. That is the only way to doing great work.
We should always remember what Steve Jobs told students at Stanford University...
"...The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Let us learn, share and become better at doing what we love.


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