The Science of Success

The Shocking Truth About Talent & What It Means For You with Geoff Colvin

June 29, 2017
In this episode we discuss the “experience trap” and why someone who has been doing their job for 20-30 years may be no better (and sometimes worse) than someone who has very little experience, look at the shocking truth that 35 years of research reveals separates world class performers from everyone else, how “Talent” is overrated, misunderstood, and most research says it doesn’t even exist, we go deep on the critically important concept of deliberate practice, and much more with our guest Geoff Colvin.  
Geoff Colvin is an award winning speaker, writer, and broadcaster. Geoff holds a degree in economics from Harvard, an MBA from NYU, and is currently the the senior editor-at-large for FORTUNE. He is the bestselling author of several books including Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World Class Performers from Everyone Else, Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will and more. Geoff has delivered over 10,000 broadcasts on the CBS Radio Network and has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, and more.
  • The “experience trap” and why someone who has been doing their job for 20-30 years may be no better (and sometimes worse) than someone who has very little experience
  • What do surgeons, auditors, parole officers have in common with their skillsets?
  • Why the assumption that a lot of experience makes you good at something is fundamentally flawed 
  • What the very best performers are constantly doing that most people simply don’t do
  • Why going to a teacher and taking lessons is NOT enough to get better at singing (or any other skill)
  • What separates world class performers from everyone else
  • Why the concept of talent is a loaded term that most people don’t understand
  • Why the conception of “talent” as an in-born gift is a mischaracterization
  • How “Talent” is overrated, misunderstood, and why most research says “talent" simply does not exist
  • What 35 years of research and science answer exactly what explains great performance better than anything else
  • What is the concept of "deliberate practice" and why is it so vital to great performance?
  • The road to great performance is long and hard, but most importantly its available to anyone
  • Why deliberate practice is not what you typically think of when you think of practice
  • The key components of deliberate practice:
    • Deliberate practice is an activity designed especially for you, at your stage of development, at doing what you’re doing right now
    • It is designed to push you just beyond what you’re currently capable of doing
    • Can be repeated at high volume
    • The vital importance of continual feedback
  • Why high-volume deliberate practice changes the physical structure of your brain
  • As you get better, your deliberate practice must be adjusted higher
  • Why deliberate practice is neither work nor play
  • The vital importance of training and practicing just outside your realm of ability
  • How to harness deliberate practice for business & investing
    • Simulation
    • Software that lets you make these decisions at high volume
    • Create simulators that put these decisions to the test at high volume
    • These simulations have to be highly realistic and very demanding
  • How a basketball team has used the lessons of deliberate practice to achieve over 100 consecutive wins
  • “The real game is easy compared to the practice” - Practice harder than you play!
  • The Battle of 73 Easting and how the military leveraged deliberate practice to win one of the most decisive tactical victories in the modern era
  • Try to find practice “in the activity” itself when you can
  • Deliberate practice is way more work than most people are accustomed to doing, but the payoff is nearly always worth it
  • How do you reconcile the advice of “focusing on your strengths” with the fundamental conclusions of deliberate practice?
  • How do humans become and maintain economic value as robotics, software, and technology continues to replace human workers?
  • The skills of deep human interactions are some of the most high value skills in the future workplace
  • The value and importance of sensing what other humans are thinking and feeling and responding in an appropriate way
  • Why human interaction, empathy, collaboration, storytelling will become more and more important
  • Emotional intelligence is a trainable skills that can be improved
  • EQ and Emotional Intelligence is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy