Dear Fellow Rotarians & friends,
There was an old joke where one musician asked another, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” the other musician answered, “Practice, practice, practice!” It’s a great one-liner, but it’s also very true.
Practice makes perfect…. We’ve all heard that right? How about, If at first you don’t succeed…
We also have the more esoteric quotes, “The skill to do comes from the doing.” – Cicero
Let’s not forget about Shakespeare who said, “Assume a virtue if you have it not.” And also, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
I read a book a few years back called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. The book explains the qualities and situations that explain the extraordinary successes of so many “gifted” individuals. While there were several factors that led to many of the great successes, there was one factor that was present in virtually all of the “gifted” people.
The common denominator in all people who were perceived as the greats in their field…? They all put in approximately 10,000 hours of structured practice and dedication in order to become experts or perceived geniuses. It was determined by Gladwell that 10,000 hours of dedication was the magic number.
Willingness, Persistence and Dedication
What set these people apart and made them different was their willingness to work hard and apply themselves. They had a fire in their belly. They were willing to apply, practice and just plain “go for it” in order to make things happen. They were willing to do more than other people were willing to do. They put in their 10,000 hours of structured practice in order to become the best in their field.
Back to Carnegie Hall
Many times I’ve thought about how beneficial it is to play a musical instrument. The reason? You cannot get proficient at an instrument unless you practice and put the time in that’s required. It requires the type of discipline that can be applied to many aspects of our lives. Talent alone will not get it done. There are technical aspects to every musical instrument that requires practice and application. I’ve seen musicians with less natural talent outperform more talented people strictly by virtue of their work ethic.
Calvin Coolidge said it best:
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Yours in Rotary,