Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect – You cannot teach talent!


Practice doesn’t always make perfect!

Perseverance alone does not assure success. No amount of stalking will lead to game in a field that has none. – I Ching

Every book that has been written, every lesson taught has the potential to help you improve the bottom line and your ability to succeed in practice.

But, and, here is the catch – it can’t teach talent!

True Story

I watched with amazement, a program which featured a 12 year old playing the piano. Not only did this youngster play complex compositions on the piano, but he improvised and took many of those compositions to a higher level to the total shock and awe of another musical prodigy.

We sometimes see genius that seems to come from nowhere. That child was given a keyboard at age 4, and he immediately started playing as if he were reincarnation of a former empresario. He had the gift! I have been trying to teach myself keyboard and guitar to keep my brain active in an effort to be sharp mentally as I age. I have attempted to master some of the technical skills to replicate the work of others. I enjoy the process. But, I cannot break away from the technical strictures that I impose upon myself to develop the skills necessary to replicate what I have heard others perform perfectly with seeming abandon.

Some of my students go solo and have done exceeding well. Others, have not. Many are struggling but keep getting better as they learn from their successes and failures. But, some are wildly successful. The materials I provide are the same. The coaching is pretty much the same. The tools that I provide are the same. Yet, some outperform others by a wide margin. Why?

Talent cannot be taught. Skills can be developed and techniques taught, but talent – that is another matter. Some of my students appear to have been born with the “Carnegie” skills as I like to call them. That is, they interact with everyone in a manner that just draws those individuals to them. They are like “human magnets”. I have a colleague like that. His office is always busy with students, professors, even maintenance personnel stopping in just to say “hello”. People like him. My door, on the other hand, has hinges that are not well-worn. He has the “Carnegie skills”. Everybody feels like he is a great friend because he emanates warmth and empathy. It isn’t artificial. It is just the way he is. He was born with it.

There are several characteristics that I can point to which thematically seem to appear in those individuals who have successful businesses. They really cannot be taught. They must be cultivated or augmented in some manner by those who don’t have those natural talents.

What are they?

  1. Interpersonal skills
  2. Imagination and creativity
  3. Natural enthusiasm
  4. Work ethic
  5. Ability to organize to get things done
  6. Fearlessness

You can get by if one or more of these natural talents are missing from your personal inventory. However, if none, or most of them are missing from your personality, you may be better served by finding employment with another. Some of my students come to that conclusion after interviewing multiple solo practitioners. You may associate with another attorney who is a “task master” to substitute for work ethic. You may seek the assistance of others to help you come up with ideas to market yourself or promote your business to help you with creativity. You may use various tools available to help you become better organized. But, if you are deficient in all of these areas, you may want to look for a job where the business of that organization is not dependent on you for its existence.

Few of my students possess all of these characteristics. But the ones that do, really do not need my assistance. But they still seek my guidance to “enhance” their natural talents. I get it, so do they. Do you? Consider, with some rigor whether you are really cut out to go into business for yourself. If not, “Plan B” may be in order.

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