Skill is Counterintuitive

The Talent CodeFor more than a decade new perspectives of skill have been the focus of books on achievement, education, sports, and the arts. Malcom Gladwell’s books are some of the best known examples. Another very useful contribution is Daniel Coyle’s, The Talent Code. Not only does the book explain the benefits of myelination in simple terms (the insulation that wraps around nerve fibers, and which makes high level performance more automatic), it also explains how to “ignite” myelination through “deep learning.” I appreciate the examples Coyle provides about coaching – I see many parallels with psychotherapy and parenting.

Perhaps like many others, my mind tends to drift toward those perspectives of success that align with my core beliefs and assumptions. That’s why I’ve written so often about the importance of authenticity and connection. When I read a book like The Talent Code, it’s a reality check. The book requires me to think not only about the deeper, spiritual pathways to the good life, but also about the pragmatic ways in which a person becomes good at something. My clinical time involves lots of relevant challenges. For example, I’ve spent years helping students to develop better study habits. Increasingly, I’m inclined to simulate a study center in my office, drawing students’ attention to very specific choices and responses – emphasizing how the enhance or inhibit success. Scenarios like this are are well informed by Coyle’s writings. Even my own ability to communicate specifically and well, is improved by Coyle’s insights. If you know The Talent Code and have thoughts about the book I’d like to hear from you. Should we believe, as Coyle suggests, that talent can be created by anyone?

Posted in Adolescence, Child Psychology, Education, Executive Functions, Parenting, Teaching Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

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