A Message For Our Children: Talent is Overrated IV

In the first blog in this series (A Message For Our Children: Talent is Overrated), it was noted that great performers are not born. They achieve greatness through a process available to you and me.

The process to greatness is practice. But, it’s not just practice, it’s deliberate practice. The second blog described a few, but not all, of the characteristics of deliberate practice: (1) a designed activity to improve performance, (2) the designed activity can be repeated a lot, (3) continuous feedback is available, and (4) the designed activity is highly demanding mentally.

The third blog in the series explained the time commitment to practice deliberately and that deliberate practice is not fun.

This blog, the fourth in the series, stresses “know” and “choice”.

Know Your Goal

Geoff Colvin, the author of “Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else,” writes, “You’ve got to know what you want to do, not suspect it or be inclined toward it or be thinking about it.”

Let’s think of reasons why that would be important. First, knowing what you want to do leads to commitment. If you know what you want in life, I mean really know, the likelihood of commitment increases.

Second, knowing what you want in life helps to focus your deliberate practice. If you think you might want to be a football player, pianist, plumber, or talk show host, then the question is, “In which area do you practice?” Remember, it takes lots of practice, over a long period of time to achieve world-class performance. It may be possible to be good at all four (not necessarily a bad choice in and of itself), but because of the time commitment, it may not be possible to be great at any one (again, not necessarily a bad choice).


The good news is that nothing need separate you from your goal. It’s a choice … your choice. Granted, I don’t know the particulars of your situation. But in America – the land of opportunity – there are too many examples of individuals who have overcome many different and difficult life situations – even life situations that are like what you face – that make it difficult to flat out say: It can’t be done.

It can be done! Choose if you dare.

[Note: This is the fourth blog in a series of blogs titled, “A Message For Our Children: Talent is Overrated”].

[Note: Throughout this series, please keep in mind that the author has the utmost respect for and understanding of obstacles that cannot be overcome with practice. It would be a mistake to prescribe practice and more of it for every child who has difficulty acquiring mastery of a subject or achieving a goal. At some point it might well be time to determine the difference between “dead ends” and “detours.” For information on that subject, please read Dr. Jerome Stewart’s Blog titled, “Dead End or Detour?“].

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Talent is Overrated. Bookmark the permalink.

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