You see, like most of you, I was born with lots of talents, I have always been above average at school, work and play. I could have done anything in life and I would probably be above average at it. This is nothing that I did personally so I don’t deserve any praise, I just won what I called the “genetic lottery.” To add to that, just like most of you, my parents, neighbors, teachers and mentors all sacrificed a great deal in raising me to be a productive contributor to society. And like most of you, I also want to be GREAT at something in life.
However, as I get older, I realize that I might NEVER be GREAT at anything if I do not change my current course. You see, I recently read an article on how to be great at anything in life. This article argued that the only way to be great at anything is “deliberate and persistent practice”. They emphasized the deliberate and persistent…because practice alone will not makeyou GREAT, and certainly talents alone will not make you GREAT.
According to research most people plateau in their profession around the three year mark, and even though they might eventually get 10, 20 or even 30 years of experience, they are actually not getting better. This defines me. I have noticed that I pick up things fast and get really good at it fast but I plateau very early. I have not been engaging in the hard work of “Deliberate & Persistent Practice”. I have always noticed that I like ‘comfort more than greatness’, I hate to struggle which means I am not progressing as high as I could go. The truly greats such as Michael Jordan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Mohammed Ali, Wolfgang Mozart practiced their craft deliberately and with persistence. They refuse to plateau, they learned new things every day. They push themselves beyond the pain and struggled in order to get better. Mohammed Ali once said, “suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”.
I hope one day I summon the courage to hate comfort and love the struggle. I hope that one day I summon the courage to live up to the talents that God has given me and to capitalize on the sacrifice of my parents, neighbors, teachers, mentors, and loved ones.