Did you ever read a book that made bells ring and light bulbs go off in your brain? Well, the latest hit for me comes from a book written by Daniel Coyle entitled, The Talent Code. The Talent Code does something that a lot of books in this genre does not do – it explains a complex topic in a way that makes it easy to understand, and the advice immediately actionable. So here is the list of my top 5 big takeaways from this book:
- Whenever you do something your brain sends a signal along a chain of nerve fibers. The more you send the signal, the more the nerve fibers fire.
- There is a sheath around the nerve fibers that develops when you fire them called myelin. The more you do something (practice) the more you automate it by your body developing and thickening the myelin sheath. That sheath regulates speed, duration and intensity of the signals. It is basically the blue print for when, why, how hard, how much and how long to do or to think anything.
- Deep, intentional practice accelerates this biological process of myelin development and maintenance. How you practice and how you make connections matter. Also, how you reinforce those connections matter. So if you practice incorrectly, you reinforce incorrectly and vice versa. You can think of myelin like the audio mixer on your stereo that ends up becoming stuck. It is “stuck” in that position, because your nerve fibers are like a recording device for the actions and connections you make whether physical or emotional. They tell the myelin what to automate. If you link incorrectly, you reinforce incorrectly, and consequently you don’t get the results that you are looking for.
- Think of your brain as one big automation device. It wants to be as efficient as possible so it wants to automate as many processes as possible. The more you automate the processes, the more your brain frees you up to become aware of nuances and other connections that you didn’t see because you weren’t biologically ready to take on the information.
- It takes time to build myelin, which is why it takes time to learn a skill well. If you do not maintain the circuit, the circuit and the myelin start to slowly wither and die. That is why daily practice is so important. Which leads to even a bigger point and that is patience! Patience to let habits that are not serving you die, and knowing that death will take place if you don’t fire the circuit; and patience that you need to have when developing new skills and habits. It’s not that you don’t have will power or are not smart enough, it really comes down to letting time and biology do the work for you.
Those are my 5 big takeaways from this book! If you want even more goodies and insights, you can read it for yourself here: The Talent Code
Until next time,