Talent? Nope. Experience? Nope. From human-performance expert Anders Ericsson, in TIME Magazine:
Ericsson’s primary finding is that rather than mere experience or even raw talent, it is dedicated, slogging, generally solitary exertion — repeatedly practicing the most difficult physical tasks for an athlete, repeatedly performing new and highly intricate computations for a mathematician — that leads to first-rate performance. And it should never get easier; if it does, you are coasting, not improving. Ericsson calls this exertion “deliberate practice,” by which he means the kind of practice we hate, the kind that leads to failure and hair-pulling and fist-pounding. You like the Tuesday New York Times crossword? You have to tackle the Saturday one to be really good.
I remember back in my golfing days that short-game expert Dave Pelz advocated practice sessions set up such that you were supposed to fail 50% of the time. If you weren’t failing that much, you weren’t getting optimal feedback.
Nathan’s recent threads on entrepreneurship and failure strike a similar note.
How much are you failing lately? Is it enough?