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Across the Editor's Desk: You are good at what?

Agriculture.com Staff 03/15/2010 @ 2:14pm

Answer this: In what activities are you really good? Seriously. Is it producing extraordinary yields? Consistently holding costs low? Selling above average? Modifying equipment? Your marriage? Parenting? Leadership? Kindness and service? Singing? Catching fish?

Chances are you have a natural bent or talent in those areas in which you are not only good but are really good. I'm talking about the level of good that is either clearly measurable or easily recognizable.

Beyond talent, however, I'm sure you'll agree that you have committed a lot of hard work and time to developing those areas in which you are good and maybe even great. Over my career I've observed that high achievers -- not just in farming but in any profession -- have the discipline to plan for and then to do what the vast majority of people may only think about but never do.

K. Anders Ericsson, professor of psychology at Florida State University, is known as the world's most prominent expert on expertise. According to Florida State, Ericsson's vast research refutes the conventional wisdom that top achievers in any endeavor possess extraordinary talent or aptitude that most people don't have.

Writes Dr. Ericsson: "I have yet to find a talented person who didn't earn his or her talent through hard work and practice."

My favorite professor in graduate school 35 years ago was Odie B. Faulk, head of the history department at Oklahoma State University. The author of nearly 30 books, he taught and stressed the writing of history to his students. Nearly all his Ph.D. students wrote their dissertations as books that got published.

Dr. Faulk's advice to students: "Write everything you write to be published somewhere. It takes up just as much space on your resumé to say you had something published in the Pflugerville (Texas) Press as it does for the Journal of the West."

The upshot is that deliberate effort and learning pays off. One such upcoming opportunity for young farmers is the New Century Farmer Conference, a program of the National FFA Foundation, July 19-23, in Des Moines, Iowa. The week can be a farming career accelerator for a college-age son or daughter. Application deadline is March 15. For complete details, visit www.ffa.org/ncfarmer.

Answer this: In what activities are you really good? Seriously. Is it producing extraordinary yields? Consistently holding costs low? Selling above average? Modifying equipment? Your marriage? Parenting? Leadership? Kindness and service? Singing? Catching fish?

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