"Greatness Isn't Born, It's Grown" (Coyle, 2009)

Isn't that what everyone wants to hear? I know, I needed to hear it! I can't sing, can't dance, can't draw and I am horrible at sports or math-related sciences. I grew up believing that I was talentless. However, according to "The Talent Code" by Coyle (2009) we often mistakenly limit talent to either genes, environment, or some divine intervention. In that sense Coyle's argument that talent is just a product of what he calls "deep practice" his theory clashes with a lot of cognitive psychology theories and other genetic studies. Even though, he doesn't refute the combine role of our genes and environment in the formation of our talents, he argues that the "nature vs. nurture" argument is not complete (Coyle, 2009, p.18).

According to John Locke's Tabula Rasa theory from the 17th century, babies are born in this world as blank slates. You can mould them into whatever you want them to become. This epistemological theory favours the nurture side of the "nature-nurture" argument, as does Coyle's idea of deep practice. A study by Howe, Davidson and Sloboda "differences in early experiences, preferences, opportunities, habits, training, and practice are the real determinants of excellence." (Howe, Davidson and Sloboda, 1998). But how exactly that resounds with Coyle's re-definition of talent.

"The Notion of Deep Practice"

Coyle's main argument is that by engaging in deep practice one will improve his performance and will achieve excellency. He supports this claim by explaining how Brazilian football players are famously known for their talent and skills. According to Coyle struggling in certain targeted ways and operating at the edges of one's ability where he makes mistakes and overcomes them explains the above-average results. The so called "sweet spot" is when you find the gap between what you can and can't do and when you fill that gap with practice. According to him, Brazilian players have found a way to enhance their performance and speed by making mistakes, overcoming them and by the extra struggle that made the difference.

"You Will Become Clever Through Your Mistakes" (Coyle 2009)

Have you heard the famous expression "Practice makes perfect"? Of course you have! When it comes to Coyle's arguments it applies 100%. Coyle takes Bjork's idea that the effort needed to complete a relatively difficult task aids learning. According to Bjork "our memory is not a tape recorder, but a living structure, a scaffold of nearly infite size.The more we generate impulses, encountering and overcoming difficulties, the more we built" (Bjork, as cited in Coyle, 2009, p18). This claim is supported by an experiment carried in the Washington University. Henry Roediger who started the experiment divided his students in two groups. Group A studied natural science paper for 4 sessions, while group B studied the same paper for one session and was tested on it three times. According to the experimenter, one week later, students from group B performed 50% better than Group A, even though they studied the paper less. The results clearly support the argument that "practice makes perfect".

In conlusion, it is worth noting one major limitation of Coyle's theory – it lacks depth and further scientific support. He gives an example of Brazilian players, but he doesn't follow them up really. In addition, he provides no explanation, whatsoever, on how a person without a singing voice can actually start singing beautifully by performing at the edge of his abilities? His theory might be applicable, but to people who already have some talent, skills or predispositions.

Author's Bio: 

Dana Barker Davies is an owner of cleaning business across Melbourne, including cleaners Emerald services. Her interests however expand far beyond the cleaning topic, since she once graduated with Psychology and Criminology. Even though she is now in the business field, her interest in psychology keeps her writing and exploring further ways to be successful and achieving.