Advertising
Advertising

America’s Got Talent or America’s Got Hard Work?

America’s Got Talent or America’s Got Hard Work?

Have you noticed that there’s a current trend about having talents? One obvious example is the mega-hit TV show America’s Got Talent, which regularly attracts an audience of up to 14 million viewers.

This show is not just popular in America, however. Hugely successful versions of it can be found in countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

I’m sure you’ve seen at least one episode of the TV show, so you’ll know the format: lots of unknown people performing entertaining and sometimes unique acts (e.g. dance, magic and songs).

As the name of the show suggests, the judges are looking for people or acts with an abundance of talent. For the average viewer at home, it’s easy to believe that talent is all that is needed to get on the show – and to potentially become rich and famous.

However, the reality is somewhat different.

Are We Putting Too Much Emphasis on Talent?

These days, people are quick to praise a person’s natural talent.

It’s as if people believe that natural talents count for more than skills developed over months and years. For instance, when watching a gifted sports person you’ve probably thought to yourself just how awesome they are.

And then there are the famous IQ and aptitude tests – which quickly separate the elites from the masses. (Companies choose to hire those with natural talents.)

Just take a look around at the news. Whoever has any major achievements will receive praise from the media and public for being so talented.

Advertising

The problem with this, is that talent gets continually put into the spotlight, while the real causes of success – effort and persistence – is seldom mentioned. This leads the majority of people to think that the only way to succeed in life is by having a strong or unique natural talent.

The present heavy focus on talent could be preventing a lot of people from achieving success.

    Don’t believe me? Just watch any of the current crop of dancing and singing contents. The majority of the time the judges will simply comment on skill and talent, and rarely (if ever), judge someone on how much effort or time they have put into learning something.

    This constant repetition of talent over effort is the cause of faulty beliefs, such as:

    • When someone is being praised for having talent, they may begin to rely on their talent, and stop putting in more effort to improve.
    • On the other hand, someone who’s been told they’re not talented may begin to doubt their own abilities, and believing that they aren’t talented they stop trying to develop.

    It’s easy to see how people can fall into the above traps, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    For example, think about Celine who got on the show. Was her success really just because of pure talent? Or could it be that for years she practiced and studied?

      In most cases, behind the natural talent, you’ll find people have also put in significant time and effort into developing it.

      Advertising

      So, to say that someone is “talented” actually rudely neglects all the effort they have likely put into doing what they do. It’s a bit like an iceberg. We only see the visible part of the iceberg, while the bulk of the iceberg remains invisible to us below the water.

      And then there’s the problem of people using talent as an excuse to do nothing. You hear it all the time: “I just don’t have talent in that area, so why should I bother competing with people who do?”

      In the above case, talent becomes a self-made wall that blocks people from reaching their true potential… which is on the other side of the wall.

        It’s Really About the Effort You Put In

        For sure, there are such things as natural talents. These are the inborn abilities that we are gifted from our family’s gene pool. It’s the same reason why some people are small, and some people are tall.

        Everyone of us has unique talents and abilities. You may remember from school how some of your friends could ‘naturally’ jump higher or run faster than you. And if you ever did gymnastics or martial arts, you’ll have seen the wide-range of natural flexibility that people exhibited.

        People’s unique talents and abilities don’t have to be obvious either. For example, over the years I’ve come to realize that I read much quicker than the average person. However, unless you and I participated in a speed-reading contest, then you’d probably remain blissfully unaware of my talent.

        But forget what you’ve been told. It’s not a talent race. It’s about the effort you put in.

        Advertising

          Hidden behind every so-called talented person is a great deal of effort and persistence. For example, Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for “having no original ideas” and “lacking imagination”; Michael Jordan locked himself in his room and cried, after being dropped from his high school basketball team; and Oprah Winfrey actually lost her job as a news anchor after producers said she “wasn’t fit for television.”

          Despite their individual setbacks, these three people went on to be tremendously successful, and of course, world famous. Looking back on their careers now, most people would assume that Disney, Jordan and Winfrey were blessed with natural talents. The truth, however, was very different. Sure, they were talented, but it was their efforts that really set them apart from the pack.

          Here’s how to discover your own unique talent and make it your biggest strength.

          1. Locate your interest

          People are much more satisfied with what they do, when they do things that match their personal interests. Ask yourself:

          • What do you care about most?
          • What do you enjoy doing the most?
          • What is the thing that you can’t bear at all?

          Then, spend some time narrowing down the options, until you find your key interest. And, if after this exercise, you’re still unsure what you’re really into, try doing different things.

          For instance, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Rowdy Gaines knew from a very young age that he loved sports. When he reached high school, he tried baseball, basketball, football, golf and tennis before settling for swimming. In other words, he kept trying out different things until he found something that he fell in love with.

          2. Build your strengths

          Once you’ve set your heart on a particular interest, think about whether you have the basic skills to make a success of it.

          What skills do you need to be equipped with? What skills and knowledge can you enhance? What other areas could you improve upon?

          Let’s say that you’ve determined that your interest is in singing. To have a chance at success, you’ll need to invest regular amounts of your time in practicing singing. You’ll also probably want to enlist the help of a singing tutor.

          Advertising

          3. Get feedback and improve

          Once you start building up your strengths, you should turn to others for feedback.

          This is where a good tutor comes in. They can tell you where your weaknesses are, and how you can improve them. They can also offer you valuable support and encouragement as you develop your knowledge and skills.

          The high-achievers in life never stop learning. They continue to look for new ways to improve and keep reflecting on what they can do better. Instead of shunning feedback from others, they actively seek it. And then use this feedback to help them keep improving.

          Effort Will Get You Much Further Than Talent

          Great accomplishments don’t come simply from talent; instead, they come from immense effort.

          It’s this hard effort and persistence that separates the losers from the winners. The former just find it too easy to give on the road to success. While the latter make sure they reach their destination.

          I really hope this article has opened your eyes to the root causes of success. And if you need any help keeping going towards your goals, then check out one of my previous articles: The Only Time That Change Doesn’t Make You Better

          Find your interest. Dedicate yourself to it. And discover a life of success that you never thought was possible.

          More by this author

          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

          How to Start Setting Strategic Goals for a Successful Life 6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low) 10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It 13 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Memory

          Trending in Smartcut

          1 How to Set Realistic Short Term Goals for a Successful Life 2 How to Start Setting Strategic Goals for a Successful Life 3 Why Is Behavior Change So Hard? Science Explains It 4 6 Ways to Finish Strong (When Your Momentum Is Low) 5 11 Reasons Why We Fail to Achieve Our Goals

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on November 17, 2020

          How to Set Realistic Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

          How to Set Realistic Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

          Change begins with the hope of what’s possible in your life, as hope leads to a sense of expectancy. Combine this with setting short-term goals, and the likelihood of being happier and more successful moves from possibility to reality.

          Short-term goals, when created with well-formed criteria, offer incremental steps towards successfully achieving your bigger goals.

          In this step-by-step guide, you’ll discover the secret to creating short-term goals that will set you up for success and help you sail past challenges of staying motivated easily.

          What Is a Short-Term Goal?

          Short-term goals are “short,” meaning the time frame can be as short as 10 minutes or a day, or as long as a week or even 12 months. Well-formed short-term goals begin with the end in mind and can be further connected to long-term goals.Quick tip:

          Write down the specific result you want to achieve and the date when it should happen. Then, work backward from this date, describing what you’ll notice yourself doing (and achieving) until you take the first step.

          A short-term goal is the smallest step you need to reach a bigger goal centered around achieving something you passionately desire.

          Passionate desire” is the key.

          As Tony Robbins says,

          People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.[1]

          Having passion when setting goals means getting your mind and body activated to fuel your energy and focus. Each time you achieve a short-term goal, your body celebrates by producing and releasing chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters).

          Ian Robertson, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure, says,

          Success and failure shape us more powerfully than genetics and drugs.

          The regular release of the body’s natural chemicals supports brain change at a neural level, building your confidence, and renewing your goal-oriented focus.

          Here are some short term goal examples to give you an idea of where to start[2]:

          Advertising

          short term goals examples short term career goals list of short term goals examples short term and long term goals examples list of short term career goals short term objectives

            The Benefits of Setting Short-Term Goals

            Regardless of the area in your life where you set your short-term personal goals, it will have a ripple effect across every area of your life. Here are just some of the benefits of good goals:

            • Improve your career prospects and your sense of identity.
            • Improve your energy in a way that’s noticeable at work and home.
            • Improve your mindset and your attitude around how you engage with others.
            • Improve your health and your desire for self-improvement.

            6 Steps to Success With Short-Term Goals

            Setting short-term goals will lead you closer to a happier and more successful life, but can you achieve that?

            Complete the following steps, and you will start achieving your dreams:

            Step 1: Know Your Best Hopes

            Try this process yourself by thinking of an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

            For example, what are your best hopes for your finances/relationship/career/health?

            This process involves “chunking up” your ideas to imagine the results more clearly. In this process, you try to achieve not only the goal and the outcome it gives you, but also the changes in your behavior and mindset as a result of achieving your goal.

            Step 2: Notice What’s Different

            The next question to ask yourself is: “What would you notice that was different from the way you usually did things?”

            Noticing helps you build a vision of what could be possible. The richer the description you can build around the tiny details, the more real your preferred future becomes.

            To complete this step, you may want to utilize some visualization techniques.

            Step 3: “What Else?”

            Most of us know there’s a hidden reason or a long-buried hope beneath why we want something.

            Often, our ego gets a little defensive and protective of it, but if we dig and resurface the truth, then a weight can be lifted, allowing you the freedom to move forward.

            Step 4: “Who Will Notice the Difference?”

            Relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and your partner are important. By imagining the change they’ll notice, you can add another perspective to your vision.

            Imagine what they will notice about you that would let them know something changed about you as a result of achieving this goal.

            Step 5: Imagine a Miracle Happened Tonight

            Imagine that if you went to bed tonight and a miracle happened, and you were the very best version of yourself and that you had achieved your best hopes.

            When you woke up tomorrow morning after the miracle happened, what would you notice that would tell you you’ve achieved the change you’re seeking?

            Advertising

            Step 6: Describe Your Day as If the Miracle Had Happened

            Go through your day, beginning with what time you would wake up, and then describe the differences you would notice in every tiny action you do.

            Notice in detail what’s different about this day, a day when you are at your very best because you’re living your best hopes.

            How to Track Your Short-Term Goals

            When you set a short-term goal, establish a measurement system to track your progress:[3]

            1. Create a Running Tally

            One of the best devices to keep your short-term goal setting on track is to keep a running record or tally of the number of days in a row that you’ve sustained your goal.

            For example, if improving your health is important to you and you plan to reduce your weight by 5 pounds by not eating any foods containing sugar, then set up a simple chart and track how many days in a row you can do this. Aim for 5 days, then 10, then 20 days in a row. If you have a small diversion and eat sugar one day, simply start again.

            Once you feel confident that you can continue with this step, add another, such as taking 5,000 steps per day. Again, set up a simple tally chart, either in your diary or somewhere visible and enjoy marking up one more day that you’ve achieved your short-term goal.

            2. Keep a Journal

            Maintaining a journal will help you focus on identifying the things that are different because you’ve set a well-formed, short-term goal.

            Aim to complete the journal at the end of each day and recall in detail the things that you’re noticing. This helps keep you connected with your desired outcome and the transformation you’re experiencing in both your behavior and mindset.

            Take a look at this guide if you’re starting out journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide).

            3. Share Your Progress With a Trusted Friend or Coach

            By voicing the change and expressing how far you’re noticing yourself moving towards your goal, you’re reinforcing the power of change you’re experiencing.

            You’ll also be activating the feel-good neurotransmitters that are so important for bringing the confidence, motivation, and positive changes you need to succeed.

            Here’re more reasons why you should get yourself a life coach: 7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential.

            4. Visualize Your Progress

            Before you go to sleep in the evening, visualize your tomorrow. See yourself continuing to do the things that support your change.

            Walk yourself through the tiny details that add up to the changes you want to see yourself doing, including the time you’ll wake up. In the morning, re-activate the visualization and then step into your day.

            Short-Term Goal Example: Your Career

            How can you advance your career with short-term career goals?

            Advertising

            Start by Planning Your Career Visually

            Walt Disney was sacked for lacking imagination. Oprah Winfrey was told she’d never make it on television. Careers are destroyed by naysayers intent on keeping you small. The successful person designs a career goal and then creates incremental steps to ladder up with short-term goals.

            Justin Dry from VinoMofo, a successful Australian wine distribution company, always begins his goal-setting process with visual planning. He says,

            I need to see it all in front of me like a puzzle I’m putting together. It kind of looks like the workings of a madman with lots of weird and wonderful shapes and lines connecting the words.

            Whether you use masses of post-it notes that cover a wall, large sheets of paper to spread your ideas on, or a journal to map your path, messy planning gets your ideas out of your head so you see different possibilities and pathways available to you.

            Begin this process by taking 15 minutes to answer, “What are my best hopes for my career path?”

            Write down your ideas and place them somewhere you’ll notice them every day.

            Think Like a Start-up Entrepreneur

            While successful career planning starts with a messy and random process to let those idea gems rise, the next step is taking these nuggets and using them to set your direction.

            Think of yourself (and your career) as if you’re the CEO of your successful start-up—one with a clear vision of what you want and how you’ll get it. Rather than waiting for a boss to give you goals, be proactive, and set your own.

            Begin by listing the bigger steps needed to achieve your goal. Then, chunk these down into smaller steps with specific actions needed to achieve them. These action steps are the workhorses of your short-term goals.

            Create a specific time frame to complete them and maintain accountability as if you’re reporting to your “higher up.”

            Begin this process by asking yourself: “What difference will I notice when I take these steps?” Then ask: “What difference will my boss notice when I take these steps?”

            Establish Triggers for Your Daily Habits

            Twyla Tharp (born 1941) legendary dancer and choreographer, maintains an exacting routine designed to trick her mind into a daily exercise habit[4]:

            I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.

            It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning makes it repeatable and easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.

            To do this list, create a trigger points—the smallest step you’ll do that will catapult you into taking action as Twyla Tharp did. What will be your ritual of “getting in the cab”?

            Advertising

            Talk About the Future

            Melanie Perkins CEO of Canva, a thriving design and publishing solution, is known for “frequently talking about the future.”

            Orienting your thoughts towards a future-focus reinforces how important your vision and goals are to you. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “You are what you think.”

            • Make it a habit to read your goals daily.
            • Think about what you’ll notice that will be different in your life when you achieve them.
            • Express your goals to someone important in your life.
            • Whisper them to yourself throughout your day.

            Future-focused conversations (both with yourself and others) establish a pattern of expectancy, which continues fueling not only your desire, but also the expectation of achieving it.

            Manage Mental Resistance

            When you begin with hope, you activate a sense of expectancy—a belief that what you want is not only possible but within reach. Hope and expectancy are two powerful motivators in propelling you forward to a successful life.

            When you’re moving forward with hope, you’re orienting yourself towards your desired future. When moving away from something you perceive as painful, you’re activating fear, which can also be a strong motivator to help you avoid pain; for example, losing your job if your quarterly performance scores don’t improve.

            Sarah, a manager at a busy merchandising company, saw her doctor because she was feeling tired. After a thorough examination, the doctor advised Sarah to lose 25 pounds as this was contributing to her tiredness. The news felt overwhelming as Sarah worked long hours and rarely found time to shop for fresh food, so she relied on fast food to keep her going.

            For Sarah, the doctor activated her fear by describing what could happen (heart attack and/or diabetes) if she didn’t manage her weight by shedding 25 pounds.

            While “moving away from” motivation can be successful, a way of amplifying positive motivators that will see Sarah begin “moving towards” her goal is by talking about what outcomes Sarah would notice by losing 25 pounds.

            For example, managing her weight may see Sarah being more efficient at work, being more social, or feeling more able to manage work pressures and deadlines.

            To do this with your own goal setting, think about what’s important to you about achieving your short-term goals. Ask: “What will you notice that will be different in your life when these changes happen?”

            Summing It up

            Change is possible. Short-term goals that build upon each other are the stepping stones to achieving your best hopes.

            Using your creative imagination by noticing the small differences occurring daily offers a positive way to create practical change in an easy and doable way.

            Above all, make sure your goal is powered by passionate desire so you achieve your desired outcomes.

            More Tips About Goal Setting

            Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next