To be the best in the world in what you do is to guard yourself against illusions. There are no secrets to success, only facts. When asking the wrong question, a misleading answer follows. When we ask: what is the secret? We unconsciously expect something beyond reach. But, when we ask: what is the fact behind success stories? The answer will be geared towards finding a pattern among the success stories. As such, the pattern will reveal a combination of prepared mind and opportunity. The prepared mind has been cultivated through years of strenuous and consistent effort in order to reach success. The two sides of the success coin are the prepared mind and opportunity. You can’t have one without the other.
At the very start of your journey nothing happens. You put too much effort into what you like to do. There is no clue that what you are doing will work. But an inside voice pulls you to do something. You revel while doing what you are doing. Your energy is high and you lose the track of time. Still, internal and external resistance distracts you. Your mind doubts the viability of what you are doing while your body asks you to enjoy and stay away from such toil. Externally, your peers and families push you to embrace what is tension relieving rather than what is vision achieving. Regrettably, most of the time the crowds win.
The only few who achieve excellence keep on practicing intently. The best entrepreneurs, athletes and artists are not only committed to work continuously, they work diligently at developing specific skills. Their aim is to be the best in the world at what they do. They shut their ears to what their minds are telling them or what the crowds are dictating; they work in silence for so long. The Beatles practiced eight-hour shows on a daily basis for ten years before their music invaded the world. Michael Jordan, the greatest basket player of all time, practiced his craft long time before achieving mastery in what he does.
To produce a stunning work in any endeavor, you need first a decade of practice. That’s what the former midfielder of Manchester United and Real Madrid, David Beckham has just done. He has unmatched skill in directing his free kicks accurately and bendy than any other player. What is manifested in his early twenties was a result of no less than ten years of deliberate and intent practice of his innate talent that he makes it a valuable skill through consistent and attentive day-to-day practice. Beckham’s mother explained how he started practicing football at the age of seven. She says,” I was amazed at how devoted he was.”
Beckham’s obsession of mastering his skill is worth following. He declared once that he practiced his free kicks, when he was a small kid, at his local park with his dad. His dad would stand between his son and the goal, forcing the little Beckham to bend the ball around to reach the goal and touch the back of the net. He never stops practicing. Even when he wasn’t physically kicking the ball, he was visualizing how he kicks it hitting the back of the net. He says,” I must have taken tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of free kicks. I would go to the local park, place the ball on the ground and aim at the wire meshing over the window of a small community hut.”
Developing your skills and being the best in the world in what you do takes time and deliberate practice. Only when you master your skill, your opportunity arrives and be ready for you to seize.