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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.

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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.

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      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.

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          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.

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          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.

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          Leon Ho

          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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          Last Updated on November 24, 2020

          50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

          50 LinkedIn Influencers To Follow, No Matter Your Industry

          LinkedIn is an excellent platform to network with great people to help you in your career and businesses. However, with over 575 million people on the site, who should you follow? This list will steer you to the right people to follow, organized by categories of expertise.

          Job Search Experts

          You will likely have several jobs throughout the course of your career, and you will constantly need advice on new trends and strategies out there in the job market. Here are the LinkedIn experts who you should follow on these matters.

          1. Liz Ryan is the CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Her articles on job searching are filled with creative and colorful cartoons.

          2. Lou Adler is the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired.

          3. Dr. Marla Gottschalk will help you make an impact in a new job.

          4. Hannah Morgan runs CareerSherpa.net, where she gives expert advice on job searching and how to be more visible online.

          5. Alison Doyle is the CEO and Founder of CareerToolBelt.com.

          Management Experts

          They say that people leave managers, not jobs. These experts in LinkedIn will help you become your employees’ dream manager.

          6. Jeff Weiner. How can we leave out the CEO of LinkedIn himself?

          7. Nozomi Morgan is an executive coach. She can help you transition from a boss to a true leader.

          8. Mickey Mikitani is the CEO of Rakuten. He constantly shares his expertise in managing a global player in e-commerce platforms.

          9. Andreas von der Heydt was the head of Amazon’s Kindle Content and now the Director of Talent Acquisition. He has extensive experience in management, branding, and marketing.

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          Productivity Experts

          By maximizing your productivity, you can win in all aspects of life. The following LinkedIn experts will help you win big in your career.

          10. Gretchen Rubin is a happiness coach and the bestselling author of the The Happiness Project.

          11. Carson Tate is the founder of Working Simply. She advises us to include play in our schedules.

          12. Greg Mckeown is an essentialist. Part of being an essentialist is saying no to many things so that we can focus on the things that matter.

          13. Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! Labs Inc. provides strategies on how to be productive and happy at work at the same time.

          Marketing Experts

          14. Sujan Patel is VP of Marketing at When I Work, an employee scheduling software. He is an expert in content marketing and he even shares his ideas on content marketing in 2020.

          15. Megan Berry is the Head of Product Development at Rebelmouse, a content marketing and AlwaysOn powerhouse.

          16. Sean Gardner will help you navigate the social media landscape. This includes how to use different platforms to help accelerate your career. He is also the bestselling author of The Road to Social Media Success.

          17. Christel Quek is an digital and marketing expert. She is the VP of South East Asia at Brandwatch. Their products help businesses utilize social media data to make better business decisions.

          18. Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing expert. His blog has over 4 million readers annually.

          19. Michael Stelzer is the CEO and Founder of social media powerhouse site, Social Media Examiner.

          20. If you’re looking for inbound and content marketing expertise, follow Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot.

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          21. David Edelman is a McKinsey partner and is at the helm of the Digital Marketing Strategy Practice Department.

          22. Dave Kerpen leads the social media software company Likeable Local. He is the author of Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers.

          23. Clara Shih is the CEO of Hearsay Social and the author of The Facebook Era.

          24. Aaron Lee is Grand Master of Customer Delight at Post Planner. He is an excellent resource for everything social media.

          25. David Sable is the CEO of Y&R, one of the largest advertising firms in the world.

          26. Content marketing trumps traditional marketing these days, and who else better to lead you in this area than Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

          Personal Branding Experts

          Part of what we market in our personal career is our brand. When people hear your name, what kind of brand comes into their mind? What traits and qualities do they associate with you?

          Here are some personal branding experts from LinkedIn to improve your own brand.

          27. Dorie Clark is the author of Stand Out and Reinventing You. He can help you craft the professional image you’ve always wanted.

          28. Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding. If you’re a millennial, Dan is the guy to help you craft your personal brand.

          Other Notable Experts to Follow

          29. Lisa Gates is the expert to follow if you’re negotiating for higher salaries and promotions.

          30. If you’re a Baby Boomer, Marc Miller will help you navigate the continually changing landscape of the workplace.

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          31. To avoid getting your resumé moved to the “No” pile, read Paul Freiberger’s excellent advice.

          32. James Caan provides insightful ideas on careers in general. He is also a serial entrepreneur.

          33. Jeff Haden writes on various topics, such as leadership and management. He is the owner of Blackbird Media.

          34. If you’re looking for expert business advice on getting new customers and keeping them, follow Jay Baer.

          35. Suzanne Lucas, aka Evil HR Lady, is a great human resources specialist.

          36. If you need help in using Twitter to boost your career, Claire Diaz-Ortiz can guide you in the right direction.

          37. Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool.

          38. Customers are the lifeblood of a business and Colin Shaw focuses on revolutionizing this customer experience.

          39. Brian Solis often reflects on the future of business and how technology can disrupt our world.

          40. Nancy Lublin provides advice on more lighthearted topics, which are perfect after a long day’s work. She is the CEO behind Dosomething.org, a portal designed for social change; and the founder & CEO of Loris.ai and Crisis Text Line.

          41. Katya Andresen provides advice on how to manage your career. She was the CEO of Cricket Media and now responsible for the SVP Card Customer Experience at Capital One.

          42. Gallup has created a system to test what your strengths are and how to use them at work. Jim Clifton is the CEO of Gallup.

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          43. Adam Grant is a Wharton Professor and the author of Give and Take, which provides advice on why being helpful at work can accelerate your career.

          44. Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Venture Capitalist Company and has specialty in product development and management.

          45. If you’re running a nonprofit organization, follow Beth Kanter for expert advice on this area.

          46. Emotional Intelligence is necessary to succeed in your career, and Daniel Goleman is your expert for that.

          47. Rita J. King connects science, technology and business.

          48. Tori Worthington Rose is a Creative Director at Mary Beth West Communications, LLC. She has extensive experience in sales and digital media.

          49. If you’re looking for some advice on how to use writing and personal content marketing to boost your career, follow Ann Handley.

          50. Tim Brown is the CEO at IDEO and shares his insights on Leadership and Creativity.

          These are just some of the key thought leaders and movers in various industries. They will provide you with constant inspiration, as well as the willpower to pursue the career that you’ve always wanted. Their stream of expert ideas in their respective fields will help you become well-equipped in your professional pursuits.

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          Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

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