Is Talent Keeping You From Being Your Best?
Recently, I read an article by Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports titled, Tracy McGrady, 'freakish' talent and the peril of ease. I enjoyed this article for two reasons. First, it references Malcolm Gladwell, who is one of my favorite authors, and specifically the theory he poses in his book "Outliers" — that the key to success in any field is the purposeful practice of a specific task for 10,000 hours. The second reason I enjoyed this article is that it is about basketball, which has always been a passion of mine.
The article tells the story of Tracy McGrady, who many consider to be one of the best raw basketball talents to enter the NBA in decades. Unfortunately, McGrady never became the dominant player most assumed he would become. And many speculate that the reason he is not one of the greatest ever is BECAUSE he was so talented. That because he had so much raw ability and experienced so much success early on in his career that he never committed himself to the long term process of improvement that is required to truly attain greatness. Things came so easily for him that he assumed (either consciously or subconsciously) that he did not need to work, that he did not need to learn from others and that he did not need to improve. And ultimately his reliance on pure talent alone prevented him from reaching his full potential.
I can't help but wonder how many of us are guilty of this same thing in our careers. Because we do well in school, we assume that things will always come easily. Because we experience success in our first job, we choose to rest on our laurels and don't do the work necessary to truly maximize our potential. Because our company has a good first 3 years in business, we take it for granted and ultimately see a competitor who was far behind us during those first 3 years eventually surpass us because they stayed focused on doing the hard work of learning and improving consistently over the years.
But as the classic story tells us, no matter how talented you are and no matter how much success you have experienced up until now, sooner or later the tortoise will always beat the hare. Please contact us to learn more!