What Practice Does for your Talents

To reach your personal potential requires practicing in the areas of your greatest talents (Click here to Tweet that). In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell said, “Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours” This takes roughly ten years to accomplish. To become an expert in your talents requires being specific and disciplined in the areas you are practicing and developing in. The benefits of practicing in the areas of your greatest talents include:

1. You become better- When you intentionally practice in the areas of your talents it allows you to sharpen and refine your skills and abilities. To become better requires practicing in the areas of your personal talents. Practice should be a major component in every leader’s growth plan. When you practice it increases your personal and work performance.

2. You gain experience- When you practice in the areas of your talents it provides you with practical and hands on experience. To increase results and have impact requires being deliberate about gaining experience by practicing your talents. The amount of experience a leader has opens the door for new and better opportunities in the future. Julius Ceasar said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.”

3. You increase in authority- Practicing your talents increases your authority on the topic(s). The longer you practice and develop in the areas of your talents the greater your authority will be in those areas. It takes time and effort to move from low authority to great authority on a specific topic. An important aspect to becoming an expert or authority figure in your niche area requires the discipline of practice.

4. You advance forward- The practice you participate in today is an investment for your future. This is because practicing within the areas of your talents can excel you forward toward your potential and dreams. When you practice you see positive progress toward a better future. Retired professional tennis player Andre Agassi said, “If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.”  

Question: What are some other things practice does for talents?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I gain clarity.

    When I write my blog, for instance, at least half the time, I think of something I never thought of before. Or I clarify a thought. Or I realize I could have done “x” differently.

    The practice of writing has become indispensable to me.

    • Great point Matt.

      I have the same experience when writing. It really fleshes out the knowledge from within me.

      Thanks great to hear, keep it up!

  • Insight. Those moments when you realize the rabbit hole goes deeper.

    • So true Todd. Most “rabbit holes” go deeper than we realize. We just need to dig deeper.

    • Good observation Todd. What insights have you learned from practice?

      • That there is always more to learn. That you will forget the important stuff you have learned if you don’t practice. That you have to be intentional about training every single day. And that Moses understood the importance of practice. And that the goal is ultimately more important than the practice: http://toddliles.com/what-gets-a-bigger-result-training-or-goal-setting.html

        • Just stopped by your blog and read the article. Great information and insight. I like how you broke it down that without the goal the practice doesn’t get you focused results.

          • Joe, thanks for reading.  I really appreciate your time!

            ——– Original message ——–

          • Joe, I highly recommend following and reading Todd’s blog. He has some great content.

  • DS

    A quote I’ve really come to enjoy regarding this thought process was from Mark Cuban and a series of blog articles he did on “Success and Motivation.” This quote he picked up from Bobby Knight: “Everyone has got the will to win, its only those with the will to prepare that do win.” Accessed here: http://blogmaverick.com/2007/01/04/success-and-motivation-what-i-learned-from-bobby-knight/

    In my experience there is nothing glamorous about practice and preparation – but it is routinely recognized as a contributing factor to success. In a different post by Mark Cuban he talks about his own beginnings in the computer software business – every night he’d read a different owner’s manual. He discovered that few people read them, and that by giving the answers from the manual solved tons of problems for his customers, and taught him a valuable lesson about the information edge.

    Preparation is key.

    • WOW, what a great quote! I’ll have to check out the article. Thank you for mentioning it.

      Mark Cuban is a great example of a person who moved to the top through a lot of practice and hustle. It’s not always glamorous but it’s so essential. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      • DS

        That’s a great question. I’ve been writing, but not publishing anything right now. I’ve been trying to observe, interact, and tweak. I’ve worked on my “about” page, changed the look of the blog.

        Thanks for the positive vibe from your comments.

        • Got it:) Looking forward to reading your content when you do start publishing it. Have a great day!

          • DS

            Thanks for the encouragement – a new post has arrived!

  • Great post, Dan. I really enjoyed that book by Gladwell. I thought about it often as I push toward my goals. That brings me to what I think practice also does; it establishes that perseverance and discipline that are required ingredients to anyone who achieve anything worthwhile. You, my friend, by practicing diligently are not only becoming a leader, but also the king of quotes! They really drive home the point.

    • Same with me Floyd. Great points, both discipline and perseverance are required in becoming successful.

      Thanks man:) The practice of writing for both of us are really helping us move forward toward our dreams. Let’s keep practicing! That’s why I intentionally us quotes, to “drive home the point.”

      I appreciate your support and friendship.

  • Practice makes closer to perfect. There are different kinds of practice, too. As a musician, I’m lazy. Although I practice daily, I rarely “really” practice, as in scales, and reading music. Instead, I practice creating new patterns and licks. This still helps me with the four points you bring up, but sometimes I feel I lack the discipline of a great musician. Then again, I’m more a songwriter than musician. Great post, Dan. Thanks.

    • I think small disciplines of practice is a great way to be consistent in any area we strive to become better in. I like what you said, ” Practice makes closer to perfect.” It’s not the only thing that allows us to be great but it’s a significant aspect. Thank you for adding to the conversation.

  • This whole concept, along with Romans 8:28, gives me much encouragement as I stumble through the process of learning. I remind myself that it’s a process, and that I AM learning – it may take time until that knowledge is turned into fruit, but I know that God will do it.

    • I agree. Great passage reference. Though this life we are all a work in progress:) I like your statement about “it may take time until that knowledge is turned into fruit.” God and practice equals us moving closer and closer to our God given purpose and potential. Thank you for sharing.

  • Great post Dan! Tim Ferriss talks about how to learn anything and do it in less time by figuring out a certain to get knowledge, it really changed my perspective: http://socialtriggers.com/tim-ferriss-4-hour-chef/

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for mentioning Tim’s post, I’m going to be checking it out.

  • Dan, wow. I didn’t realize that research says 10 years is the peak at which you gain expertise. I think also, in combination with authority, you gain credibility. Once you have authority, and the people around you, believe in you, only the skies the limit.

    • I totally agree! Even before we gain expert status(10 years) we can gain authority, credibility, and influence in the areas of our talents/niche. Thank you for adding to the conversation. I appreciate you.

  • I love what you said about practice. I think blogging is a great way to practice writing and become an expert on our subjects, and if I look at it that way – as practice and also a ministry – it will help me be patient!

    • Blogging is an excellent way to practice. It allows you to work out things, even in secret, as you don’t have to publicly publish a post you have written.

      • As long as you don’t accidentally publish it. :) I’ve done that before, but fortunately not with anything too bad.

        • Yeah, that could be bad. You’ll need to be intentional not to accidentally publish it!

    • I totally agree Barb. Thank you for sharing.

  • Practice allows you to make mistakes. Especially if you’re practicing in a non-real world situation. Mistakes are the building blocks for learning and something we need to be more willing to make.

    • Great point Joe, making mistakes is vital to learning and becoming better. Thank you for bringing that up.

  • Confidence (though you pretty much said that).

    I agree with Joe, it allows you to make mistakes and learn from them. The greatest learning I’ve had in life has come from falling down and getting back up.

    • Great point, Practicing can build our confidence. Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with Joe as well:)

  • Great post Dan. Sometimes practice can let you know what you are not good at. In the past, I put in hours to learn the guitar – i had the music, songs, instrument and some passion. After many months/years, I realize that am not a natural and my passion wanes. I like music (esp listening to it!) and in time, I could try out another instrument, keep on figuring out what works and flows for me.

    • Great example about the importance of staying focused and practicing in the areas of our talents. I thought about learning an interment but know its not in the area of my gifts or talents so I don’t even try.

      That’s a great way for someone to find their talents, to start practicing and figuring out what they are good and not good at.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • davejarnold16@gmail.com

    Great post, Dan. Practice not only teaches discipline,
    but also self-denial. Because the truth is it’s not always fun.
    One of my heroes is the late Herb Brooks, who led his team to win the gold medal in hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics. He used to tell his team in practice,
    “The legs feed the wolves, gentlemen.” Meaning, if you don’t work hard and build your leg strength, you won’t be able to defeat your opponent.
    God bless!

    • Thanks Dave. Great additional point, I totally agree about it teaching us “self-denial.” Great example and quote. Thank you for stopping by to read and share your insights.

  • Drew Tewell

    One of the reasons books are so powerful is that they allow you to learn from an expert on the subject of your choice. Their book may contain insights that have taken them decades to learn and you can read it in a few days. By the way, Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. He is coming out with a new book next year about underdogs. Thanks for the insights and well written post, Dan!

  • You gotta know I love the “you advance forward” line. Just saying…

  • Dan,
    So true!! Practice may not make youy perfect but it gets you close!

    • It sure does TJ Trent. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Great post Dan. In an instant gratification world I feel that practice has suffered. Practice also gives you confidence for when you face adversity in your leadership/craft.

    I read this yesterday, and it seems like it is right up your alley – http://artofmanliness.com/2012/12/05/gaining-mastery-the-three-vital-steps-of-the-apprenticeship-phase/

    • Thanks Cole, I’m glad you found value in it. Great point about it bring confidence. Thanks for sharing the article. I’m heading over to read it now.

      • You are welcome, and Merry Christmas!

        • Thank you. I hope you have a Merry Christmas as well!