If you do a quick search around the internet you’ll find discussions and debates everywhere about what talent means. As you browse, you may notice that nobody seems to fully understand talent, or how it contributes to success. Do you?
If not, don’t worry, I’ll explain it to you. Why? Because you need to understand talent to understand why you need to do the thing this article is gonna tell you to do, or you won’t end up doing it, and reading this will have been a waste of your time, and writing it a waste of my time!
And then you’ll end up moping around about how you have no talent for this thing or that thing, like most people do.
And you don’t want that, do you?
Great! Let’s begin.
The best way to define talent
Fortunately for us, renowned psychologist Angela Duckworth has developed a theory of achievement, which she explains in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In her theory she defines talent as “how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort.”
Talent, therefore, isn’t how good you are right now, it’s how much better you get as you apply effort.
Talent x Effort = Skill
So, if you wanna know how talented you are at a thing, you can’t just do it once. Since talent is a measurement of how fast your skills improve, you have to do it more than once to truly understand it.
How many times should you do a thing
In 2018, Josh Spector wrote about an idea that matches what I’ve found to be true about improving skills. Mr. Spector championed the 100x Method, where you only do a thing if you’re willing to do it 100 times, citing a few reasons why it’s useful to adopt. The reason we care about is this one:
“The 100x method ensures you keep creating long enough to have room to adapt as you go and guarantees you put in enough work to improve.”
That’s right! To truly gauge your talent, you have to put in enough effort to improve. The range of effort needed is gonna vary from person to person, since everyone doesn’t have the same level of talent for everything.
Making at least 100 attempts to do a thing should yield improvement for the vast majority of people, and give you a good idea of whether you wanna keep doing the damn thing or not.
Use the 100x Method before you judge your talent
How many times have you seen someone moping around about how they aren’t talented enough to do a thing after having only tried it once? How many times have you been the one moping?
If only you knew then what you know now.
Talent is a measure of how fast you improve, but it’s fixed. Through sheer effort you can improve your skill. Skill is how good you are at a thing. How much effort it takes to get your skill where you want it to be is the unknown.
If you commit to doing a thing at least 100 times, and track your progress, you will see how many times you improve, and how often, over the duration.
In doing that, you will have a much better and more realistic idea of your talent at that thing.
The lesson is, have patience, show yourself some compassion, and if you truly want to pursue something, give it at least 100 tries.
Best of luck with your pursuits!