Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Formula for success: practice and hard work

Saw this article on Yahoo today, and it really resonated with me.

Titled What It Takes to Be Great, the article uses examples of Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and other great athletes, artists and business people to illustrate the idea that success takes practice. To excerpt:

The first major conclusion is that nobody is great without work. It's nice to believe that if you find the field where you're naturally gifted, you'll be great from day one, but it doesn't happen. There's no evidence of high-level performance without experience or practice.

Reinforcing that no-free-lunch finding is vast evidence that even the most accomplished people need around ten years of hard work before becoming world-class, a pattern so well established researchers call it the ten-year rule.


The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call "deliberate practice." It's activity that's explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one's level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.

As a writer, I guess everything I produce is practice (this is practice). Some of it is more challenging then the rest and some of it is more successful then the rest, but it's all practice for the next thing I write. I just need to sit myself in my chair, get over any fear of failure, and produce.

Perhaps I should practice practicing.

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