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Leadership Lessons from: Julie & Julia – Talent is Overrated



Impatience seems to be increasing. Certainly I’m guilty of this. It may be the fast paced world we live in where almost anything we want to know is instantly accessible by computer or iPhone. Both of my sons have an iTouch and while we were watching a college basketball game together this weekend we wondered about how one of the players did the previous game and instantly my son brought the game up and found the players statistics.  
Success with business and ourselves doesn’t come with the flip of a switch. That’s the message Jim Collins offers in Built to Last, Good to Great, and How the Mighty Fall. It’s also the message I got when watching the movie Julie & Julia. It took Julia Childs 8 years to get her cook book Mastering the Art of French Cooking published and perhaps that’s why she refused to recognize Julie Powell who aspired to cook all 524 recipes from Child's cookbook during a single year, a challenge she described on her popular blog that would make her a published author. The film by the way is the first major motion picture to be based on a blog.
Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin offers a similar view that challenges the notion that many successful people simply had the talent to be good and didn’t have to practice as much or endure the pains that the rest of us do in order to achieve success. It notes that Mozart and Tiger Woods are examples of successes that are often cited as child prodigies. These are people supposedly that had such extreme levels of talent that they were destined to be successful. The research proves otherwise. In both these cases Mozart and Woods started at a very early age with parents who pushed them into practicing and dedicated their life to pursuit of what was more than likely their own dream.  
Success doesn’t come in a single glancing blow. It takes years of effort and energy. It’s like the tip of an iceberg where most of us see only the result of the extraordinary work that’s been exerted. Want more evidence? How about this quote from Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart: ”Somehow over the years people have gotten the impression that Wal-Mart was…just this great idea that turned into an overnight success. But…it was an outgrowth of everything we’d been doing since (1945)…And like most overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the make.”
Talent is Overrated challenges the notion that practice leads to becoming automatic.  Being  automatic is often equated with unconscious competence. We’ll explore this next blog. 

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