3 Minute Ideas – 2. Developing a Talent

This is a series of 3 minute videos to help performers be more comfortable, confident and effective in front of an audience. These short videos share powerful ideas and strategies in a short space of time.

This video is on Developing a Talent, what goes into expanding your skills and how we can use this to our advantage. It is inspired by the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.


Hi and welcome to number two of my “3 Minute Ideas”. Today I want to talk to you about how we develop our talents, and this is based on the work of Daniel Coyle, who wrote the book The Talent Code.

Now talents are based on three factors. Firstly, what we’re born with, secondly something called ignition, which is the impetus to do, which gives us the impetus to do, number three, which is sheer bloomin’ hard work. Anybody who has a talent that they’re developing will know that it’s sheer blooming work that really is the key to developing a talent. In fact, of the three, number one, what we’re born with, is the least important, because there are so many aspects of ourselves that we can change and develop. We can change ourselves physically and develop muscles, and change the physical structure of our body by developing those muscles. We can change our neural pathways, we can develop new thought patterns. In fact there’s very little that we are born with or born without that truly defines whether or not we will be successful and develop a talent to a high level, to the level we want to achieve.

In fact it’s numbers two and three that are more important. Number two, as I said, is ignition and that is something that gives us the impetus to do the hard work. Now that can just be simple interest, because if we have an interest in something we will then do it, we might become obsessed it times in doing it, but we’ll do it more and the more we do it the better we get at it and therefore the more successful – which then sometimes gives us the impetus to put more work in or increases our interest, which encourages us to put more work in, which increases our success. Ignition can also be something negative that might have happened that gives us the drive. There’s actually research to show that children who’ve lost a parent at a young age sometimes have a greater chance of succeeding and achieving great things because they have that drive to succeed, they have that drive to put more effort in to succeed and therefore that is the impetus that is provoking the work that is giving them the success – because hard work works, because developing a skill partly about myelinating the neurons. The more we use a neuron, a particular neural pathway, the thicker the myelin coating becomes that surrounds the neuron, and the thicker the myelin coating becomes the easier it is, and the more effective that neuron becomes.

So the more we repeat the skill the easier we find it, and so that’s why repetition and hard work helps us develop and master our talent. There’s more to it than that, and I will tell you a bit more about the next level in my next three minute idea.

What I would like you to take away from this one is the idea that what we’re born with is not as limiting as sometimes we lead ourselves to believe, and that if we can capture that ignition, if we can capture that impetus to put in the hard work – and for me a lot of that is about leaning into the joy and enjoying what we do because then we put in the hard work – and then we will myelinate our neurons and get the success we want!