Decoding Danny MacAskill (Biker)

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Meet 23-year-old Danny MacAskill of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is, as one commentator put it, ridonkulously talented. The sheer creativity is off the charts. (Who else would do the ride-atop-the-spiky fence thing?)

What’s cooler is to think about how MacAskill built those circuits.  

We’re seeing the result of 12 years of hard, deep practice (see this BBC article for details). MacAskill practiced several hours each day (10,000 hours, anyone?). Most of all, however, this kid is extremely skilled at persistence.

That sounds weird–to be skilled at persistence. But consider this: for the opening trick–the ride along the spiky fence–MacAskill practiced for eight hours before he got it right. Eight hours.

How many people would do that? You’d think after seven hours and 45 minutes, most of us might have said, “You know, this one might not be possible after all.”) Persistence is a skill circuit like any other–one that MacAskill has practiced a lot.  

This reminds me of the time I was about seven and my brothers and I built a plywood jump at the bottom of our driveway. I had a red Schwinn with a sparkly silver seat–hot stuff. The first jump I caught maybe four whole inches of air, and was pretty sure I was going to be the next Evel Knievel. The second jump I biffed pretty bad, nearly got hit by a car, and then we decided to play in the backyard instead. Persistently, I’m sure.


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4 Responses to “Decoding Danny MacAskill (Biker)”

  1. Jeff says:

    Jeez. Can’t imagine the pain of all the failures along the way.

  2. Tracy Koehler says:

    I’m glad you didn’t persist with the bike thing, Dan. If you had, you may not have become a writer, and if you hadn’t become a writer, you wouldn’t have written The Talent Code. (And if you hadn’t written The Talent Code, you wouldn’t have created this web site…and I wouldn’t be typing this comment right now. Yep, Dan — because you sucked at jumping your bike, and you refused to practice, entire destinies were altered. Which makes the bowl of Fruity Pebbles I’m about to eat seem almost mystical. At any rate, I’m glad you became a writer. I’m salivating over the release of the book. And yes, I’m sure it’s the book and not the cereal…)

  3. Al Tinat says:

    I have already read The Talent Code and myself have noticed that have been applying the 10,000 hrs of deep practice automatically with areas such as Yoga, poetry, acting, etc. The results speak for themselves.

    My 10 yr old daughter has started practicing violin at the age of 5 and by the age of 8 started the 3hr deep practice/7days per wk and is already a virtuoso Violinist. I fully agree with the notion that talent is just the beginning for the ultimate talent is practicing hard and being persistence. There are millions of talented people who never made it due to lack of stamina and hard work.

  4. Al Tinat says:

    P.S.Should be -being persistent- up there! Being detail oriented takes also practice.Lol

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