It’s been a while since I’ve added to this series, so I’m going to start with a brief overview of the premise of this series. Most people like to be called “talented” and think they are praising someone when they praise them for being “talented.”

Calling someone talented is one of the worst things you can do to someone, especially a young person. Doing so often takes away the drive to improve and make it even better. Raise their value before they have tasted any significant success.

There’s also an excuse in the subtext when praising someone for their talent that’s usually overlooked: “I’d be as good as you, if it weren’t for the fact that you’re more talented than I am.”

That’s why I teach my clients to take offense when someone calls them talented and urge them to point out how hard they’ve worked to develop their skills (which are often mistaken for talent). I suggest you take this approach as well. If you want more general information, all of my previous articles in this series are still available on this site.

This does not mean that there are not people with a better predisposition to succeed in different endeavors. For example, if your goal is to play in the NBA, every few inches taller you are increases your chances of reaching your goal. But the fact that you are really tall is far from a determining factor and in no way a guarantee of your success.

If you’re between 6’10” and 7′ tall, your statistical odds of making it to the NBA are still only about 3.2 percent. Remember the subtext I mentioned earlier when calling someone talented? Let’s say you’re between 6′ 10″ and 7′ tall. and playing in the NBA. Now insert the word “height” instead of “talented” in the subtext example I used above. “I’d be as good as you, if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re taller than me.” We now know that over 96% of the people in your height range don’t make it to the NBA, so it seems silly to believe that if the person telling you this just had your height (or “talent”) they would be in the NBA. also.

It is not where you start, but where you finish that matters in any endeavor you undertake. There are a myriad of factors that go into success that are more important in determining who is successful than height or talent. Sure, being between 6’10” and 7′ tall is an advantage early on for someone who wants to play in the NBA, but the vast majority of NBA players are still under 6’10”.

Being labeled as talented or smart often makes people more cautious. In order to grow, we must continually strive to try things that are beyond our current reach.

The bottom line is that while you may start out with some inherent advantages over others, what ultimately determines who succeeds has more to do with your desire and the amount of work you put into developing your skills than whatever advantage you started out with.

You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


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