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Unleash The Power Of Greatness – The Truth Behind Talent Revealed

Unleash The Power Of Greatness – The Truth Behind Talent Revealed

All of us have access to a higher form of intelligence, one that can allow us to see more of the world, and use our talents to impact it in some way. Whether you believe talent is a rare gift born within, or seek to go above the talents you already possess, this article will reveal the hidden truths behind talent, and how we can all access it for greatness.

“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all other; we are rarely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Introduction

Talent isn’t something we are taught. Talent, is something we recognize within ourselves as a result of practical application in a particular chosen field. Some of us do well in our pursuit of greatness, and some not so well. We may try very hard to perfect our attempts at mastering a certain activity, yet, seem to fail timelessly. As a result of our failures, we can easily rationalize those doing better as born naturals; we see them as people with natural gifts, and we can easily reduce to feelings of inadequacy, becoming uncertain about our own capabilities. However, science teaches talent isn’t a gift born within, and instead, developed in a series of stages. And with time, patience and consistency, does one come to master his field of endeavor.

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Myelin: The True Mother Of Skill

Every human skill, whether it is playing an instrument or kicking a ball, is created by a chain of nerve fibers that carry a small electrical impulse. Myelin, which is a mixture of protein and phospholipids forms a sheath around our nerve fibers; the thicker myelin gets, the faster and more accurate our movements and thoughts become. Every human on the planet can grow myelin, and we do so more swiftly during childhood, but also throughout life; it’s growth allows all manner of skills, mental and physical. Skill can be defined as a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits, and grows in response to certain signals. The more time and energy you put into practice of what you are trying to achieve the more myelin you create; this process applies to all those we consider talented.

Entering The Unknown

Before attempting to accomplish any skill, we are firstly outsiders to it; we have prejudgments and an element of fear about the process and our minds have not yet established a relationship with it. Although we may have excitement and enthusiasm for acquiring a new skill, most of us become uncomfortable as we become aware of the hard work ahead of us. If one can manage these uncomfortable emotions and allow time to take its course, one will find something remarkable begins to shape. Myelin get’s thicker, and the brain develops a strong relationship with the process at hand. In time, what was once unfamiliar and vexatious becomes a process we can do effortlessly.

Unlocking Inner Greatness

Every man and woman desires to acquire great skills to affect the world around him or her in some way. However, many often feel trapped by their limitations of consciousness. Simply put: If one is unaware of his own capabilities and the power of his own mind, he may find it easier to try and short-circuit the learning process by the use of drugs, incantations and prayer. Those who are more aware of their capabilities and have a self-belief in what they can accomplish, usually devote themselves to mastering the subject.

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It is common for people to lose themselves in a fantasy of becoming talented by the use of shortcut methods. Ancient wisdom reveals a change in attitude can attract the right energy, allowing us to achieve greatness by the virtues of thought. However, the true power we possess and mostly ignore – the same power used throughout history to build  magnificent buildings and paint works of fine art – is of course: the power of practice, patience and persistence (PPP).

”Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted! They acquired greatness, became “geniuses” (as we put it), through qualities the lack of which no one who knew what they were would boast of: they all possessed that seriousness of the efficient workman which first learns to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole; they allowed themselves time for it, because they took more pleasure in making the little, secondary things well than in the effect of a dazzling whole.” Friedrich Nietzsche 

The Work Of Six-Million Years: Our Mind

People have come to believe talent is inaccessible. They see it as a product of the privileged or something magical within. But this idea is only imaginary, because the real secret of talent is supported by six-million years of development. Our brain, is in fact, designed to lead us into developing great skills and to become masters of our chosen field. Now, if all of us are born with essentially the same brain, why does the world show a limited number of talented people you may ask? Well, the truth is: talent is everywhere, it is just unrecognized. People across the planet have developed skills no different to some of the great minds we have admired throughout history. We must consider in order to become truly great, practice, patience and persistence must be applied, and it is a rare faculty among the average population.

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The Facts Of Myelin

Myelin – mentioned earlier – does not respond to vague information; the mechanism is built to respond to actions; it responds to urgent repetition. Myelin is universal and cares only for what you do. It does not unwrap, meaning: once a skill circuit is insulated, you can’t un-insulate it. And this is why habits are hard to break. The only way to change habits is to repeat new behaviors. Age also accounts for myelin, as it arrives in a series of waves when we are young. This is why the majority of world-experts start off young. However, we still continue to experience a net gain of myelin until we are 50. But as you may know, those who try to learn a new language or try to pick up an instrument later in life have a much harder time.

”People get the mind and quality of brain they deserve through their actions in life.” Robert Green

Before Attempting New Skills

Before attempting new skills, we must first, see it as something necessary and positive. Relying on genetics and technology will not allow us to become more efficient in our attempts to master new skills. We must realize we all get the brain we deserve through our actions. The amount of work we put in is precisely what we get out of it. We must be willing to go the distance. This is what all great achievers have managed to preserve. Lastly, we must never see ourselves as accomplished, but always remain in a state of learning. No person is ever accomplished at great skill, for there is always room for more. Thinking we are skilfully accomplished because of one single dose of appraisal from an outsider does not make us so. We must be willing to always strengthen the skills we have to become truly great.

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What We Have Learned

We learned talent and skill are not something magical born within, but a series of stages that take place. We learned skill is built by a chain of nerve fibers that carry a small electric impulse, and myelin is the key to its strength. Practice and devotion are needed to become great, and most people are ready to give up once they become aware of the work involved. We also realize talent is always around us, yet goes unrecognized. The bottom line is: If you wish to become better at what you do, or wish to develop new skills and reveal the signs of what outsiders call ‘talent,’ this will require you to devote time and patience to mastering the process. And if you wish to be truly great, you must live for it.

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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