The secret to becoming a star…

A Star is Made: Where does talent really come from?

Reviewing a new 900 page academic book The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance that will be published this month, Freakonomics authors report some very interesting findings.

(I highly recommend you read this piece if you have an interest in finding out how a star is made in any discipline.)

Here are three conclusions from this massive work:

1. The trait we call talent is highly overrated.

That is, expert performers – whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming – are nearly always made, not born. And yes,

2. Practice does make perfect. And last, my personal favorite:

3. When it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love – because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good.

They add, “Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t ‘good’ at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don’t possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin.”

But the truth is this:

“What they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.

Joseph Campbell was right when he told his students, “Follow your bliss.”

And yes, especially in your work. If you don’t love your product for example, chances are you won’t do the deliberate practice it takes to learn how to talk about it so that you get good at it.

If you don’t love SOMETHING about your network marketing business enough to spend the time to learn to do it well, your chances of succeeding are slim to none.

So ask yourself, what do you LOVE MADLY about what you’re doing? Is it making a difference in someone’s life? Is it what the income can buy?

Whatever turns you on, will keep you going.

And if it’s nothing special, perhaps this business really isn’t the best thing for you to be doing. Why NOT love what you do? People can tell if you don’t.

One thing’s for sure in our business: The promise of income is NOT enough. Not for the 95% who drop out, that is.

So what else is there that you love enough or are challenged by enough, to keep you practicing deliberately and systematically, like everyone has ever done who excels in something?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Slow day, this post merits some feedback and no one else seems awake or bothered enough, so…

    Ever the contarian, I have to diagree with:

    >The trait we call talent is highly over-rated.

    I’m calling Ernie H as witness:

    This is the millennium of the untalented. We are surrounded by actors who cannot act… singers who cannot sing… teachers who cannot teach… writers who cannot write… speakers who cannot speak… painters who cannot paint… and we pay them fortunes for their mediocrity.

    >Practice does make perfect.

    Often, yes. And dull.
    To me, process (however good you get it) is never a substitute for talent. There’s lots of really great jazz folk… and then there’s Miles.

    I do of course have more, but let’s see if this can spark something…


  • I loved the article because I KNOW it is true from personal experience and from being a “people watcher”in success for many years. I have a conductor son who has been in Europe since 1982 whom we have considered a “genius” since he was a small child.He has always told me that talent was over rated since anyone who was as talented as he could NOT have made it without LOVING IT MADLY(since he was 4 years old!)AND PRACTICING DAILY for many many hours for many many years.In my personal experience,in a business where I made almost $500,000 the last year I was in it,we had a script that everyone used (putting their own spin on it with their own story) and the ones who were a success LOVED IT MADLY as I did.
    We practiced soooooo much in special meetings on each other AFTER they had done their home work and learned it.We were always practicing.
    Its true and IT WORKS!

  • Mary is so right, as is Kim. Practice does make perfect…just as any sport, musician, any profession, etc. After you have practiced enough, it comes naturally and your true self shines through with confidence and belief. In our business of relationships with our customers and our business partners, we must be our human selves telling our story over and over again. That’s practice! It works!
    Margie Lassmann

  • I’m coming to this a couple of years after the original post, but would like to add something anyway. As a professional classical flutist in the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty years, I discovered that “practice makes perfect” is NOT true.
    Practice makes PERMANENT. Only PERFECT practice makes perfect. If we practice sloppily, with lots of mistakes, and we do that over and over and over again, the mistakes will become permanent. And then we’ve got double the work to do: first we must undo the habit of making the mistake and THEN start establishing a new habit of doing it correctly.
    Much better to take one’s time, concentrate deeply, and do it PERFECTLY every single time. The good news is that, ultimately, you save time because you learn it faster and it’s really “yours”.

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