Have you ever wondered why some people are so talented? What is it that gave them their extreme abilities? Were they just born with lucky genes?
Genes do play a part in it, but for the most part, luck has nothing to do with it. It turns out, talent, whether you’re talking about writing, playing the piano, or hitting a golf ball, is the result of one thing. Effort. Not just normal, every day effort. Extreme effort.
I’m in the middle of reading “The Talent Code” written by Daniel Coyle. It’s a very interesting book that I would highly recommend. The major premise of the book revolves around a substance in our brains called “myelin”. Without getting too technical, bear with me while I explain.
You may have heard of muscle memory. The phenomenon where we train our muscles in a manner that they can repeat an action without much effort. A basic example is learning to type. You start the process slowly, but eventually, you can use the keyboard without thinking about what keys are where.
It turns out, muscles actually have nothing to do with it. The “remembering” is all done in your brain. Your brain remembers and tells your muscles what to do by firing electrical impulses through your nerve fibers.
In the last decade, scientists have discovered that there is more to this. When your nerve fibers are stimulated, a substance called myelin is created around the nerve fiber. Creating myelin around nerve fibers is a long process, but the more you fire the nerve, the more myelin is created around the fibers. Think of myelin as the plastic coating around a wire.
The interesting thing about myelin is that the more there is around a nerve fiber, the faster the information can be sent along it. And we are not talking just a little faster. We are talking hundreds of times faster.
The subtitle of the book is “Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s how.” Those super talented people out there may have had some good luck along the way, or they may have good genes. But there is one thing they all have in common. They all put in extreme amounts of effort to get where they are. Think about the most talented people you know. Each of them has put thousands of hours into perfecting their craft.
Have you considered that you have that same ability?
You really do have greatness within you. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes struggle. Yes, it takes persistence and dedication. But you have the ability. Maybe you’re not interested in greatness.
Are you interested in becoming a better you?
Are you interested in developing your skills more?
Are you interested in being a more positive influence?
If myelin is created by firing our nerve fibers, we create it in everything we do. As babies, we created it when we started walking and talking. As adults, we create it in our work, exercise, driving, cooking, our relationships.
What if we create it in the things we say to ourselves?
What if our self talk, our affirmations, the things we write all develop myelin? I suspect they do. This is significant because myelin is not biased.
Myelin does not care if the things we tell ourselves are positive or negative. It simply builds the nerve fiber that is fired. If you think negative things, you increase the speed of the “negative channel” by more than a hundred times. If you think positive things, you increase the speed of the “positive channel” by more than a hundred time.
Do you want to build a positive channel or do you want to build a negative channel?
Taking it a step further, what if we can program new habits simply by saying affirmations or writing down ways we want to be? There is a lot of information available about how long it takes to develop a habit. What if the length of time doesn’t matter? What if the only thing that matters is the effort and overcoming the struggle?
Seth Godin is one of the best and most popular marketing gurus on the planet. One thing he constantly does is encourage us to do the work. No matter what our work is, stop trying to be perfect. Stop finding excuses. And ship. Finish the work, and publish it. Every day.
Since 2002, he has accomplished the amazing feat of posting over 6000 blog posts. That’s more than 1 per day. I’m sure it was hard at first, but I believe that now he would say it’s easy. His writing nerve fibers are running at broadband speeds. Seth is a tremendous author. That’s not because he’s gifted. It’s because he’s made the effort.
How do you want to improve?
What habit do you want to create?
How do you want to change the world?
Pick something, and do the work every day. When it gets hard, remember what Napoleon Hill said. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”