maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: The Prodigy

Invest 6 minutes today to click on the link at the end of this post and listen to the performance at TED where 11 year old Joey Alexander performs a jazz piece on the piano.

The headline is “11 Year Old Prodigy Performs Old School Jazz”. The word prodigy bothers me. Synonyms for prodigy include: genius, phenomenon, and wonder boy. The term for many people implies that Joey has “a gift”, and that somehow he developed his talents without the work and effort that it requires mere mortals.

As you listen to Joey play consider all the hours he has spent listening to jazz music, thinking about music, dreaming of music and practicing music. Imagine the environment he grew up in where his love of jazz music was spawned and fostered; where his parents supported his love for jazz music and provided and environment where that allowed it to thrive. His efforts have resulted in him getting the opportunity to play with (and likely get coached by) some of the best jazz musicians in the world.

Think about how great he will be as he continues to practice, learn, get coached, practice more and continues to develop his skills, knowledge and passion.

Too many people assume they could never be as good as the Joeys of the world  because they do not have “the gift” and so they never put in the effort and never strive to be great at anything. Too many parents push their children to be the next “child prodigy” whether their son or daughter loves the piano, loves to play that sport or loves math.

What’s Important Now? It is important for parents to create an environment where your children develop a love of learning and a willingness to try and fail at different things until they find something they love doing and are willing to put in the time and effort to be great at. Be patient. Their “calling” will likely not be clear by the time they are 11.

Joey Alexander TED Performance

Take care.

Brian Willis


Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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