Dan Coyle’s Favorite Talent Tips, Plus a Giveaway

About a year ago, Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, asked his blog readers to send him the best single piece of advice they’d ever been given for how to nurture and grow their talent. Sticking with his philosophy that “Greatness isn’t born. It’s Grown,” he was looking for practical, no-nonsense keys to success. Prompted by the eminent release of his newest book, The Little Book of Talent—a collection of 52 science-backed tips for developing talent and building skills—Coyle compiled his favorite reader tips into a best-of list he dubbed “The Talent Tip Hall of Fame.”

To celebrate tomorrow’s release of The Little Book of Talent, we’re sharing that best-of list below. We also have 15 copies of the book to give away. Enter to win on our Facebook page between now and August 26!

1. Slow is Smooth, and Smooth Is Fast: “I think we typically want to learn a skill as quickly as possible, and be done with learning it. If we could only slow down, break things down into small reproducible parts, and excel in a smoother way, we would get to the end product with excellence much more quickly.” —Greg Sumpter

Why Dan likes it: “Because it keeps me focused on what really counts: being accurate and efficient, and letting the speed come later.”

2. Start With the End in Mind: “My 20-minute drive to work allows me quiet time to employ this rule for my day, week and season. I find it much easier to reverse-engineer a challenge than to fly by the seat of my pants.” —Bill Dorenkott, Head Coach of Ohio State Women’s Swim Team

Why Dan likes it: “Because there’s a huge gap between mere activity and targeted work; this saves me time.”

3. Cultivate Awareness: “Instead of engaging in a running commentary about all the mistakes to avoid, and keeping a list of all the mistakes made, you should cultivate awareness. It fires the more unconscious, creative part of the mind. You can even say to yourself, ‘I’m going to play this passage, and I’m not going to try to avoid mistakes. I might even try to make mistakes.’ This counter-intuitive technique allows you to play more freely, and often, with fewer mistakes.” —Kent Bassett

Why Dan likes it: “Because rather than getting governed by your mistakes (always a danger), this helps you focus on mastering them.”

4. Feel Pain, Not Hurt: “Feeling pain is a signal of growing and improving. [Feeling] hurt is a signal of stop which pause the flow of skill development.” —Markus

Why Dan likes it: “Because it makes clear the useful distinction between good pain (stretch, struggle, reach) and bad pain (ouch).”

Here’s the entire list of Coyle’s readers’ tips. 


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