Life

Beyond “Correct”: Cultivating Exceptional Talent in a Standardized World

Talents can be divided into two categories: one is called “correct talents” and the other is called “excellent talents.”

Correct talents focus on how to do things “right”, while excellent talents focus on how to do things “well”. Yes, there are standards; yes, there are no standards.

For example, if you want to learn writing, you might go to a writing training class, and you might buy some books that teach writing. But have you ever thought about this question: What kind of writing are you learning?

The correct type of writing is to write “right”. You can buy a copy of Steven Pinker’s A Sense of Style: A Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. He will tell you “basic syntax rules”, “appropriate punctuation of sentences”, “don’t use too many zombie nouns”, and even explain “what is the curse of knowledge” from the perspective of cognitive science. Master these skills, whether you are writing papers, official documents, letters, or preparing speeches for leaders, you can write fluently and easily, and you can even occasionally publish some short articles in newspapers and periodicals.

But Pinker can’t train you to be a writer. A writer is someone who makes a living by writing. They rely on other writing skills to make a living. They must be able to stand out from the many correct writers and be recognized by readers. To do this they must have something other than “right”. Each of them has a different style, and they have the ability to make you discover their difference after just reading a short paragraph or even a sentence. Writers are outstanding talents.

Correct talents have templates, but excellent talents do not. We see uniformity in group gymnastics and it’s great to see them, but like NBA stars, everyone’s technical characteristics are different, even the most basic shooting or free throw movements are different. The right type of talent is easy to replace, but when a person is replaced in a professional sports game, the entire team’s cooperative style of play must also change. What kind of actor is a comedian? There are no standards. Every comedian defines a comedian.

In an industry like professional sports, only outstanding talents can survive, while other industries have both types of talents.

Our expectation for correct talents is reliability and inability to make mistakes. The value of correct talents is determined by their shortcomings. Compared with the template, if you have any shortcomings, then you are not standard, and you will not be able to count on it at the critical moment.

The value of outstanding talents is determined by their strengths. How many shortcomings you have is your business, as long as you have “one new trick” – and this trick must be outstanding, preferably unique. Substitutability is a nightmare for talented people. Every outstanding talent must occupy and defend his own territory.

Correct talents focus on routines, while outstanding talents focus on performance. When a correct person summarizes his successful experience, he can say that it is because he did something right and did not make any mistakes. And an outstanding talent often cannot explain how he succeeded last time. It may be like a dream, or it may be good luck, or he may be in an unusual state that day, and he does not know how to replicate it.

Correct talents emphasize stability, professionalism, and standards, while excellent talents emphasize risks, innovation, and art. Correct talents care about what they have, and hope to have a complete resume, preferably with all skill points, and pursue “I have it.” Excellent talents care about what they are, hoping to be unique, establish their own personality in the world, and pursue “I have it.” I am”. Correct talents must have reliable output for the team, while excellent talents must lead the team’s changes.

The general trend of the world is to become more and more homogeneous, and yesterday’s style may be today’s standard. But as an individual, if you want to stand out, you must be heterogeneous and find your own little bit of difference.

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