Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work…”
— Albert Einstein
I am not athletic. I don’t watch sports nor do I play any, but I am fascinated by the athlete mentality.
Athletes are amazing. Some have incredible natural talent and for various reasons never live up to potential, while others are so-so with the talent but go on to become legends. LEGENDS
Athletes striving for success play the long game. They understand that the only way to achieve greatness is through the slog. There is beauty and grace in the slog. There is pain and disappointment in the slog. The slog of learning to throw the ball better, learning to shave points off of your time, practicing 1000 free throws every day.
Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard.
Just as athletes must work hard to reach their goals, so do those aiming to impact the world’s problems. These people must go through the slog while trying to put a billion people in safe, decent shelter or making sure the world’s poorest have food, water and healthcare.
Big complex social problems take decades of hard work to change.
There is no instant payoff.
This can be hard to comprehend in a culture which values instant change and instant gratification. We like quick results. We like to think people come from the womb in full magnificence endowed with special gifts.
Blink and lose 20 pounds. Increase program numbers by a million percent while getting a pedicure. One billion new subscribers before Thursday after one pithy tweet.
I hate to be the deliverer of reality, but here is the truth: Change comes slowly for most people and can be very uncomfortable. Improvement takes time and you just have to keep going. Inch by inch, step by step. If this seems boring or hard – it is. It involves a certain single-mindedness.
Winning is pursued in small increments, not big breakthroughs.
Self-improvement is not sexy. This is a country built on the back of sexy, new and shiny… that’s why grit can be an underappreciated and is very rarely talked about.
Ask yourself the following:
- Am I coachable?
- Do I have a realistic view of my skills?
- Can I take criticism and feedback?
- Am I easily discouraged?
- Am I willing to work every day to improve?
- Am I willing to learn more?
These are the steps it take to make yourself better. The willingness to put in the hours is the most important ingredient.We get better not by chance, but by choice .
Improvement is birthed from an investment of time.