Mindset Mondays: Natural Talent Versus Hard Work

Mindset Mondays: Natural Talent Versus Hard Work

June 24, 2024

Alright, legends, listen up! Let’s talk about hard work versus natural talent. Matthew Syed—yeah, the bloke who dominated Olympic table tennis twice—he’s all about graft over gift. After wading through stories of people moulded for success by helicopter parents, pure dedication, or just being in the right place at the right time, his big shout is that deliberate practice is where it’s at.

Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t matter if you were born with the charm of a donkey or the agility of a sloth; it's all about how much graft you’re willing to put in. That makes sense, right? Well, it does until you start thinking that maybe even our ability to graft hard is wired in our DNA. You see, how much effort we put in is tied to our brains soaking up certain hormones—dopamine, to be precise—that keep us buzzing and on point.

Dopamine, that cheeky little chemical, is the maestro of our brain’s reward and pleasure centres. We humans are experts at slacking off when the reward is a far-off dream. But dangle a reward right in front of our noses, and suddenly we’re working like a pack of dogs on a juicy bone. This suggests our ability to grind might be genetic, depending on how well we manage our dopamine levels.

But don’t go waving the white flag just yet, thinking you’re a genetic couch potato. Even if you’re the procrastination king or get distracted by a passing fly, you can tweak your setup to work in your favour.

Actionable Tips

Here are three no-nonsense tips to hack your dopamine system and smash your goals:

  1. Chunk it Up: Break your mammoth tasks into bite-sized chunks. Every time you tick off a chunk, you get a dopamine hit, keeping you motivated and pushing forward.
  2. Reward Yourself: Set small, satisfying rewards for completing tasks. Whether it’s a cheeky takeaway, a quick scroll through your favourite memes, or a bit of choccy, these little rewards can keep you on track.
  3. Get a Routine: Lock in a daily routine that works for you. A solid schedule trains your brain to expect and enjoy the work, making it easier to dive in and stay focused.

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