What is talent? One reader debates…

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Dear Michael,

I am a fan of yours. Two of your books are on my shelf. I also spent 2 years working through [name] home study course. I also understand the turtle trading system. I have spent well over 10,000 hours studying charts in search of my own financial holy grail. I am a professional musician who has been unsuccessful at producing consistent profits via trading/investing for over 30 years.

The recently completed test of the “10,000 hour” theory by [name] ([name] attempted to make the PGA tour by practicing golf for 10,000 hours – he failed) is further confirmation to me that Talent is an essential ingredient to success in any field. EVERYONE in my field understands that there are some skills which are part of individual when they are born. People like Itzak Perlman, Buddy Rich, Nolan Ryan, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods are very special individuals. The average person could spend 1 million hours trying to model any one of those people and they would not come close to getting the same results.

[name] runs a program for people who wish to excel in trading. He calls it his [name] Program. I wish he would publish the overall results of all those participants in an honest objective way (and maybe he has). My guess is that all of his clients improve their skills, but I would guess at least a percentage of them can not truly be considered “[name].”

Trend following is indeed ONE WAY to generate consistent profits but only in the hands of a person who has spent considerable time with research and practice IN ADDITION to having natural abilities for the tasks involved.

I guess the reason I am writing is because I’d like to see more openness about the challenges in the field of trading/investing. Many people like you do a great job in helping people find a safe road through the minefield of putting money at risk. At the same time, can we please, please acknowledge that the people who achieve outstanding results are naturally gifted. Yes, rank and file individuals can improve whatever skills they have. I have learned a great deal about how to NOT LOSE MONEY in the course on my studies. That alone has helped me accumulate wealth. But let’s be sure people understand that they must work within their own skill sets. Not everyone is cut out to make the Olympics. Not everyone has what it takes to make the PGA tour. Not everyone has the skills that you have, Michael.

The Nature vs. Nurture debate is a ridiculous discussion. Look at the Turtles; look at Dan [name]; and read about all the other studies on the topic. I guarantee each case will show that hard work definitely improves performance. On the journey toward peak performance people who understand themselves will end up having the most success (happiness and satisfaction) in life.

Most Sincerely,
[name]
[name], Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

My response.

And his book.

The Author