Breaking ‘The Talent Code’

The following are brief personal notes from the book, The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle.

Are you an entrepreneur that needs to learn something new to allow your business to grow? How about a stay at home mom that has been out of the workforce for a while? Do you worry about how there is no way you could learn everything that you need to learn in your industry because you’re “too old” or “too busy”?  Current research shows that anyone can “enter a zone of accelerated learning” and in essence crack the talent code. The word “Accelerated” got my attention. We are all busy. The world is moving so fast, so this is crucial for so many of us in this day and age. Below are my highlights I took away from the parts that I’ve read so far.


This talent code is “built on revolutionary scientific discoveries involving a neural insulator called myelin, which some neurologists now consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill”. Every human skill (whether its learning how to code, play the piano, or learn a new business skill), “is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse – basically, a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers the same way that rubber insulation wraps a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out.” Each time you practice your skill, you add another layer of myelin to that neural circuit, the better it insulates and the faster and more accurate your movements and thoughts become.


The amazing thing to take away from this is that its universal – everyone can grow it, more swiftly during childhood but also throughout life. It’s also indiscriminate: its growth can enable any number of mental and physical skills. We cannot see or feel it, but can sense its “increase only by its magical-seeming effects”. Your takeaway? The more time and energy you put into the right kind of practice, the more skill you get (more myelin you earn).

The struggle is neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must MAKE MISTAKES & PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE MISTAKES; you must slowly teach yourself your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit (i.e. practicing) in order to keep myelin functioning properly, as it is a living tissue.


  1. Deep Practice
  2. Ignition
  3. Master Coaching

*Each is useful on their own, but their convergence is the key to creating skill. The process slows if you remove individual parts.


Important Take-Away

“Deep Practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways – operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes – makes you smarter.” Experiences where you’re forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them – ex: think of a lady practicing a piece of music. She is trying to hit a certain note and sings up to it, misses it. Continually tries to hit it, and after struggling for a while, gets it. Then, begins the piece from the beginning to the end.


My Take-Away:

Don’t quit when things get tough and struggling to learn something new.  The struggle is allowing me to learn it faster and hone the skill! “The trick is to choose a goal just beyond your present abilities; to target the struggle.” <~~I now have scientific evidence to use on my teens to ‘help’ them learn…they have to embrace the struggle of just doing it on their own. (They aren’t liking this very much, which makes this quite funny).

Another thought: Make sure that whatever you are pursuing is something you truly care about, because it’s going to take commitment, struggle, and getting out of your comfort zone to get the most out of this.

Source: The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle

3 thoughts on “Breaking ‘The Talent Code’

    1. I’d love to expand on what I find, but I’m still reading. 😉
      I’ll be sure to have a part 2, once I get into more of the juicy stuff. Thank you for reaching out!


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