The talent myth: How to maximise your creative potential

From The Independent:

If you thought that geniuses were born not bred, you'd be wrong, says Daniel Coyle. He visited centres of excellence across the world and discovered that, if we all just followed a few key rules, success could be ours for the taking.

A few years back, on an assignment for a magazine, I began visiting talent hotbeds: tiny places that produce large numbers of world-class performers in sports, art, music, business, maths, and other disciplines. My research also took me to a different sort of hotbed: the laboratories and research centres around the country investigating the new science of talent development. For centuries, people have instinctively assumed that talent is largely innate, a gift given out at birth. But now, thanks to the work of a wide-ranging team of scientists, including Dr K Anders Ericsson, Dr Douglas Fields, and Dr Robert Bjork, the old beliefs about talent are being overturned. In their place, a new view is being established, one in which talent is determined far less by our genes and far more by our actions: specifically, the combination of intensive practice and motivation that produces brain growth.

… What follows is a collection of simple, practical tips – all field-tested and scientifically sound – for improving skills, taken directly from the hotbeds I visited and the scientists who research them.

1. Stare at who you want to become

If you were to visit a dozen talent hotbeds tomorrow, you would be struck by how much time the learners spend observing top performers. When I say observing, I'm not talking about passively watching. I'm talking about staring – the kind of raw, unblinking, intensely-absorbed gazes you see in hungry cats or newborn babies.

More here.