The top 5% of talent: you’re more talented than you think.

Everybody is above average at some thing – be it programming or design or gardening. But if you’re above average and you also enjoy it, magic happens. Unless something stops you, you’ll soon land in the top 5%. Let me explain.

Skill is an exponential game

While practicing a skill, each time you overcome a new challenge, your brain makes new neural associations to solve the situation more easily next time. But this rewiring makes you strong for a hundred other similar situations. In mathematical terms, skill is exponentially proportional to the number of practical challenges you face.

But if you also like it

It’s nice when you understand something. But if you also like it, you will do it again. Mind-blowing, I know. So your n goes up, so does your skill and soon you’ll be in the top 5% – the zone Ken Robison calls The Element. You’ll surprise everyone, including yourself.

And when you’re in the top 5%, you should get paid. A lot.

So, if you are above average

When you overtake 50% of the crowd, you’re having fun. And you don’t stop. You’ll go much farther. You may soon find yourself in the top 5%. Unless, of course, a well-meaning uncle advises you to “take a step back and think about the good life as a Data Scientist” and you suspect that he’s probably right because “nobody ever told you that you had any special talents”.

So, next time you are above average at something (like training a dog) and you also enjoy it, take it seriously. Keep looking till you find that something but don’t kill yourself. Because, to find something you must stay alive.

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