What it takes to be great

Geoffrey Colvin, at Fortune, wrote a great article about the secrets of greatness.

A finding he presents is the fact that  the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. What it takes to be great is painful and demanding practice and hard work.

Ten years has been found in so many cases as the time before a perfoer reaches greatness that it has become a rule, the ten year rule. But it is at least ten years, in most fields such as music and literature elite performers need 20 to 30 years. Of course not everyone that practise hard achieves greatness, and the difference is deliberate practise. Deliverate practise with the goal to improve is what can make you be great, but again, it takes time and lot of hard work.

A very interesting perspective is how often talent is used as a reason why someone doesn’t succeed in a field. Thanks to this fact, everyone can achieve greatness as long as they want, practice deliverately and are willing to accept the hard work.

A personal reflection on this is that you often hear that practise should be fun. It is seldom fun to force yourself to push your limits, to always improve, but in fact, that is what makes you better. I experienced this while training track and field, 400 meter. What is fun, that is to perform well on competitions, and to do that hard work has to be done everyday and that is maybe not always fun.

~ by Andreas Sigurdsson on November 26, 2006.

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