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Secrets of Greatness
By Pradeep Gusain
Fortune magazine has titled its October 30, 2006 issue as the Excellence Issue. It explores the Secrets of Greatness. The conclusion of its article is that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. Instead, persistent practice and hard work is the secret.
Greatness is achieved through hard work over many years. Most accomplished people needed around ten years of hard work in order to become world class. Excellence is not necessarily a consequence of possessing innate gifts; even if you possess some natural gift, high-level performance is not possible without experience or practice. Many prodigies don't achieve the greatness expected of them.
Motivation is the key to the required constant hard work and practice. In another article, '12 Peak Performances,' Fortune talked to twelve successful people - a global trader, drill instructor, test driver, gambler, scientist, pro athlete, rock musician, security expert, movie star, venture capitalist, chief executive and concessionaire. Some of the conclusions derived from the discussions are:
- Practice makes perfect. This is the explicit or implicit refrain of practically all the 12 persons interviewed.
- Have an obsessive quest for self improvement and staying focused.
- You can not get locked into a mindset. A lot of people just keep adding to a bad position.
- A failed experiment is actually a rich source of information. People tend to focus on positive results, but people who are successful are often those who also learn from the negative.
- Stress yourself out. You can't go out and expect to do well when the pressure is on if you have not previously put the pressure on yourself in practice, in the off-season, or when nobody else is there.
- Analyze available data and statistics relating to your practice, experiment, experience or business but not obsessively - if you spend too much time analyzing reams of data, you become paralyzed and never make interesting decisions.
- Buckle up for a wild ride if your job demands it.
- Embrace ambiguity and think outside the box.