'The Talent Code' - Exploring Paths To Greatness
By Daniel Coyle

June 8, 2021

'The Talent Code' - Exploring Paths To Greatness

You've undoubtedly heard the old adage, 'practice makes perfect.' Daniel Coyle, in his book, 'The Talent Code,' explains the biological imperatives behind the act of practicing a task over and over in order to build-up a skill in a certain area. 'The Talent Code' explains that practice, and deep practice in particular, helps to build-up fatty tissue called myelin around neural connectors in our brains, helping to retain data between neural transfers and improving data throughput in the process. So one mystery unlocked, I suppose, but what motivates us humans to put in the amount of work required to beef up our myelin to such a degree that we can actually become great at something?

I have always maintained that excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work.‘The Talent Code’, pg. 30, quoting Charles Darwin

Greatness Is Made, Not Born

The idea that great leaders, or otherwise great people, are made not born seems to be a recurring theme in some of the books I’ve been reading lately, this one included. The first time I came across the idea in recent memory was in Stephen Schwarzman’s Book, ‘What It Takes’, as discussed in Episode 15 of the Dream 10X Podcast. I love this idea because it seems to illicit so much hope for those of us seemingly so less genetically predisposed to greatness. General perceptions of introverts come to mind. Contrast this idea with those who claim IQ is a primary differentiator between those excelling in certain areas over others.

And by the way, this is like the fourth book I’ve read in a row that mentions Toyota’s ‘kaizen’ paradigm. Perhaps this is synchronicity.

‘The Talent Code’ contends, in fact, that all humans come well equipped with the genetic framework to specialize in pretty much whatever endeavour we humans put our mind to achieve.

One of my favorite mottos in college was ‘Conceive, Believe, Achieve’. It seems to offer a similar hope of at least the potential of achieving just about anything you really put your mind to and put in the work to achieve.

Ingredients Of Greatness

‘The Talent Code’ seems to point out the more-or-less obvious idea that greatness requires a great deal of practice. The book dives deeper into potential reasons for why that is along with the expression of thoughts on how to accelerate the process, both in learning something new and in becoming a master of a specific skill. One of the secrets to it seems to be a type of fatty tissue in the brain called myelin.

Other key ingredients are a bit less concrete, however, like the environment one practices their craft in. Building-up a skill to help one move from more austere environments to those offering more comfort seem to be a key factor, along with the mental dopamine rush of taking pleasure in practicing, having a long-term hope in the skill being developed, and getting the right coaching along the way (not to mention starting it all when you are very young).

Age factors aside…ahem..I take great hope from many key skill-building and accelerated learning concepts presented in this book.

I got the eye of the tiger to go forth and build some more myelin!

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Dialogue & Discussion