Scott Schimmel (00:05.334)
When you think of the most talented person that you know, who comes to mind for you? Chances are, when you think of someone who has a talent, you think of probably like in a musical, a musical ability, artistic, athletic, something in that kind of category, physical, creative, something where they do something that is so extraordinary, no one else can even come close to what they do and how they do it. You've probably been at a youth sports game.
and you see someone like I saw on Friday night, this high school football player, cut left, cut right, and then turn on the jets and was like a Tesla taking off, just super fast, way faster than anyone else in the fields. And we were just, I mean, I stood up like, wow, the talent of that kid. And then try to contrast that with how we typically give advice to young people, to kids, to our...
our own children to other students about how to make decisions for their future. Well, in part, let's reflect on what you're talented at. What comes easily to you? What seems to be a little bit more effortless for you? Is it math, is it writing, is it science? And then let's try to match your grades based on the classes to an education path, like a major, which then goes down a path to a career. And yet, the best research that's out there
on talent has proven that talent is not actually that predictive of future success. In fact, there's something that's way more important, twice as important as talent, and that's effort. Welcome to another episode of U School Podcast. We're going through the key mistakes that young people make when making decisions about their future. And this one is about over emphasizing talent.
Scott Schimmel (02:03.498)
very humbly and confidently say I am really good at public speaking. I've made a living. I provided for my family of public speaking. But if you had met me, if anybody not one person, not a relative or a family member, not a teacher, not a coach, not a friend, nobody in the world who had known me for 20 plus years would ever picked me out of a crowd and said that one.
that one seems to have an unnatural gift for speaking. Now here's what happened. How did I go from no one ever saying, me not even wanting to speak, I did not one desire once. If I ever had to present in class, I was like anybody else. Loathed it, avoided it, tried to delay it at all costs. To now loving it, being a pro at it, literally pro at public speaking, what's the gap?
I had an opportunity, I think I was around junior in college, I was asked to give an announcement at a club meeting, there's about 70, 75 students there, and I had the chance, I guess, to go up and share about this upcoming event, but I decided to throw a joke in there. I can still remember, I went up and told a joke, approximately two people laughed out of 70, two people chuckled at my joke, because it was so kind of like Seinfeldian dry.
over most people's heads. It wasn't the time or place for a joke, yet I did it anyways. And I remember sitting down, not with shame, not embarrassment, not with like, ah, regret, I shouldn't have done it that way. I sat down with a deep conviction. I will get better at this, whatever this is. From announcements to speaking, to sharing, to lecturing, to giving keynotes, to giving sermons, I've done thousands.
talks over the years.
Scott Schimmel (04:08.75)
There's a little cut.
Scott Schimmel (04:31.074)
What did I do? Effort, extraordinary, tremendous effort. I could never, ever, ever count up the, and I'm not exaggerating, thousands of hours of time that I spent improving my craft at speaking. I used to listen to different speakers that I found engaging people that other people said were absolutely effective communicators, and I would listen to some of their talks and their presentations dozens of times each, taking notes, what made them effective.
I prepared my own talks, my own speeches. I took every single opportunity I could to speak up front publicly, no matter if that was three people or 300. I once drove 200 miles to give a talk for free, just for the opportunity to get better at what I was doing, effort. I put extraordinary effort into it. The other day I was in a meeting and someone said something about me as a speaker and said something like, you know, it's hard to find.
naturally gifted and talented speakers like Scott. And I was kind of caught off guard a little bit. Like one, that's a nice compliment, but two, it's just not true. It's not true. I am not a natural gifted or talented speaker. Become it over time. My older sister was in the gifted and talented program in school, maybe you were in that, or maybe you know someone who's in that.
She took a special bus to a special school for very talented kids who were gifted at academics. And I just remember getting to her age and not being selected for that program and thinking, okay, so I'm not gonna go down that route in terms of school. I remember being an absolute love of sports baseball especially, and not being able to hit a curve ball, not being able to throw a pitch past another hitter and recognizing at 12 years old.
Apparently I was not gifted or talented in that area either. And so I remember as a teenager really searching, okay, how do you kind of make decisions about your future? And I made this decision to go into something that I thought would just be respectable and certainly got a lot of praise from my family. But it was never something that I would have put much effort into. In fact, it came pretty easily. I was an accounting major, had a bunch of finance internships, and it never took much from me.
Scott Schimmel (06:49.79)
I didn't try hard. I got good grades. I got job offers. But it wasn't easy. Or it wasn't hard. It wasn't challenging. And I was not willing to either. I was not willing to put extra time and energy and effort into it. So here's the question. Rather than overemphasizing what are you talented or naturally gifted at, what comes easily to you, the question that becomes, what are you willing to put effort into? What do you do already? Where you're taking extra time, energy, effort.
into something that may or may not fit into the confines of school like math, English, writing, etc. Or a major or even a career path. Like my son puts extra effort every single time he's going to make a purchase about something especially for him it's gears, ski gear, surf gear, car. And he spends hours and hours not just understanding the best deal but understanding the components and the parts and where they come from and why somebody made something a certain way.
and he's able to understand things at a level that I don't think anybody else that I know is willing to put the energy and effort into understand it. So if he makes a recommendation to buy something, you listen. It's worth it. And so what is that? What is that? It doesn't fit into school. What is that? There's no purchasing department major. There's no class in high school for doing deep research about product development.
I haven't seen that class in the course syllabus, the course catalog. What do you do with that? You pay attention to it, and you look for opportunities to do more of it, and you pay attention to where your energies are, not where your talent is, because talent is not gonna win effort will, two to one. So that's the short message. Don't make a mistake by searching for talent. Look for where you're willing to spend blood, sweat, and tears.
more time than anybody else, more energy, something that you're drawn to, and that will yield much greater satisfaction, much greater success. That's it.