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Like an experienced climber scaling the face of a towering ridge the morning sun inches it’s way up the rugged skyline, piercing ever so briefly through the blanket of pines before disappearing again behind the timbered landscape, almost in a playful sort of manner, as if teasing one with the up-and-coming promise of a brand new day.
The sidewalks and rooftops are moist from the rogue thunderstorm the night before and glisten in the dancing columns of mornings light.
The lingering layer of dew over the water gradually transforms from thick and mysterious to virtually nonexistent, unveiling a velvety sheet of glass that’s severed only by the low flying aerobatics of the occasional carp.
The wafer thin air is clean and crisp, filled with the subtle sounds of sprightly squirrels, crooning blue jays…and the scorching guitar of Eddie Van Halen.
The song is Runnin With The Devil.
The source, a teeming wake board boat of twenty-something’s motoring out from shore for the first run of the day.
The place: a tiny slice of heaven nestled in the upper elevations of The San Bernardino Mountains, a place my family and I have visited every year for the past twenty-five years.
A place called Big Bear Lake.
For me that pretty much sums up the past week, one that, on one hand had the magical ability to hogtie the hands of time, and on the other, the unseemly knack of flying by as if tethered to the tail of an F-14 fighter jet.
But then isn’t that how vacations go? Way too frigging fast!
In any case, it’s back to suburbia, back to the grind, and as I’m sure you can relate, there’s plenty of catching up to do.
However, before I opt out of vacation mode and back into the swing of things I’d like to finish the few remaining chapters of a book I brought along with me up the mountain.
The book is The Talent Code, by journalist and New York Times best selling author Daniel Coyle.
In it he convincingly diminishes, if not altogether dispels the myth that talent and greatness is inborn. And is in fact, grown.
Now I wouldn’t say Mr. Coyle is defending the idea that we’re not born with some smidgen of natural talent, or that some are born with a bit more than others, but he also clearly points out that, “as Irving Berlin had stated, ‘Talent is only the starting point.'”
On page two of the opening chapter the reader is introduced to a freckle faced thirteen year old girl fictitiously named Clarissa, a so called “mediocre” clarinet player who through a series of video recordings unwittingly manages to amaze a pair of onlooking experts with her unique practice method.
From there it’s off on an extensive journey to visit some of the worlds most mysterious “talent hotbeds.” From the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical music academy in upstate New York, these mystical (and often humble) breeding grounds have an uncanny reputation for repeatedly produce some of the greatest phenoms of our time.
Soon thereafter the author identifies what is described as, “The three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance.”
Element #1: Deep Practice. Everyone knows that practice is the key to success. What everyone doesn’t know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice.
Element #2: Ignition. We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack?
Element #3: Master Coaching. What are the secrets of the world’s most effective teachers, trainers and coaches?
Now, while it’s insanely evident throughout the book that Mr. Coyle and his cohorts have done their homework, and while the research is more than convincing, I must confess that all the scientific chatter about a neural insulator called myelin (a microscopic substance described as insulin that wraps nerve fibers in our brains to help increase signal strength, speed, and accuracy) had me drifting in and out of the snooze zone on more than one occasion.
No disrespect mind you.
It’s just that…well, input paths and output paths aren’t really my thing.
“This book is about a simple idea,” asserts the author.
And granted it’s not brain surgery.
But in my opinion it’s nowhere near as simple, as memorable, or as utterly entertaining as the five-minute video on Daniel’s website called “Daddy Messing Up: A Touching Journey.”
(The link is below)
This homespun video with accompanying soundtrack is an absolute hoot to watch.
With Daniel playing the main character, it recounts a popular Tiger Woods commercial from a few years back. One which shows off Tigers so called “natural ability” at juggling a golf ball with a club. Oh and keep in mind that Daniel doesn’t even play golf.
I believe the filming was done over the course of approximately three months, with the average practice time lasting only a few minutes a day.
For me personally this video captures the very essence of a simple idea, as well as, reaffirms a very sound and simple truth. And that is with a little time and effort you too can, as Mr. Coyle asserts in The Talent Code, “Unlock talents that you never knew you had.”
…and most likely, were never ever born with.
Well done Daniel!
Check out both of these awesome videos at at thetalentcode.com
Here are the links for each.
See ya on Dec 1st. Till then, keeep it up.