Perhaps, the most exciting research that has emerged over the last decade is the fact we now know talent is developed, not innate. I know. This may be hard to believe at first glance. What about all the savants or elite level performers, such as Mozart, Michael Jordan, or Einstein?
If you look closer, you will discover each of these exceptional individuals had early life experiences that shaped and honed their abilities to the level they later attained. What studies have shown is if you engage in certain types of activities and practice, you will actually make neurological and neuroanatomical changes to your brain, which then creates the ‘talent’ that did not exist prior; the gift we all have is the ability to develop the gift.
This is achieved through the brain’s ability to achieve what is referred to as neuroplasticity. Neuroplastic is the brain’s capacity to change itself to meet new environmental demands. However, this cannot be achieved through insight or understanding but only experientially.
Do Genetics Affect Your Unlimited Potential?
The potential to become exceptional is the birthright of every human being. We all have this capability, from the cradle to the grave.
One of the areas genetics comes into play in early development is in some children’s ability to grasp things quicker than others. This may be due to processing speed and focusing capacity.
We all have the same gift. That gift is the ability to develop a gift.
Historically, because of these children’s potential to pick certain tasks up more rapidly, they were deemed as having an innate talent for that particular activity. However, when you reverse-engineer the lives of peak performers, what you find is they were often not the one’s initially identified as having extraordinary talents.
“Most peak performers were not the one's initially identified as having extraordinary talents.”
How The Elite Discover Their Unlimited Potential
For many of them, they experienced an intrinsic reward from the activity itself that then drove them to engage in consistent practice following specific principles. This type of training created brain changes that later allowed them to surpass their peers and become the ‘chosen few’.
As a result of this knowledge, there is a new paradigm shift when it comes to assessing potential: the goal is no longer to achieve your ultimate potential but to create a new and unlimited potential that does not yet exist. This truly levels the playing field for everyone; if you are willing to work hard enough and follow certain exercises that create neuroplasticity, you can become elite in your field of endeavor.
Peak Performers are made not born
If you are still doubtful, I would refer you to the work of Anders Ericcson who has spent over three decades researching peak performance and what makes certain individuals elite. In his book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, he lays out the science showing peak performers are made not born.
In the pursuit of your vision or dream, realize if you find intrinsic reward in the activity, are willing to put in the hours, and engage in specific types of brain-changing practice, you can develop talent and ability you do not yet possess and become exceptional.