The myth of talent and the power of practice.
Matthew Syed is a British journalist and broadcaster, who has worked for The Times newspaper since 1999. Before this he was an English table tennis international, England’s number one and competed at two Olympic Games. He is a wonderful public speaker and for the last decade has studied, written and talked about the relationship between talent and training in the creation of elite sports people. In 2010 he published the book Bounce about this work.
This 30 minute talk given to a teachers conference in 2013, follows on from the ideas in Bounce by looking more at the best ways to develop ‘brilliance’. In particular he looks at the existence of growth and fixed mindsets and how what you believe about yourself, can effect the way you study, the way you learn, your confidence and your open-mindedness. He stresses that “Cultures that obsess about talent, loose their resilience and their motivation”. When society worships effortless performance, it leads to the belief that only the weak work at things, as the truly talented don’t need to. It also causes individuals who don’t believe they have talent, to feel that there is no point trying.
Full of interesting stories about his life and details about the scientific research being done in this area, I couldn’t recommend this talk more highly.