To be successful and high achieving takes inborn talent; talent will out; you need a gift to be exceptional – all these are myths, according to research detailed by Geoff Colvin in his book Talent Is Overrated.
These preconceptions also fuel a sense of inadequacy, lower esteem or decreased self-efficacy for many people, and distorted beliefs that we need to be “special” to reach high levels of excellence and achievement.
In his article What it takes to be great, Geoffrey Colvin, senior editor-at-large of FORTUNE Magazine, writes, “Research now shows that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. The secret? Painful and demanding practice and hard work.”
One example is Tiger Woods
He goes on to report, “Scientists worldwide have conducted scores of studies since the 1993 publication of a landmark paper by Ericsson and two colleagues, many focusing on sports, music and chess, in which performance is relatively easy to measure and plot over time.
“The first major conclusion is that nobody is great without work. It’s nice to believe that if you find the field where you’re naturally gifted, you’ll be great from day one, but it doesn’t happen. There’s no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice.
“Tiger Woods is a textbook example of what the research shows. Because his father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age – 18 months – and encouraged him to practice intensively, Woods had racked up at least 15 years of practice by the time he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, at age 18. [The phot0 is Woods at age 3.]
“Also in line with the findings, he has never stopped trying to improve, devoting many hours a day to conditioning and practice, even remaking his swing twice because that’s what it took to get even better.