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Saturday, 26 April 2014

A success story

How Bill Gates and Michael Jordan Met the 10,000-Hour Principle – Darasimi Oshodi
“Champions do not become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, and months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely a demonstration of their championship character.”
The statement above is credited to Michael Jordan who is arguably the best basket ball player ever.
Jordan’s long time coach, Phil Jackson reveals that it was hard work that made him a legend. When Jordan first entered the league, his jump shot wasn’t good enough. He spent his off season taking hundreds of jumpers a day until it was perfect. He says Jordan’s defining characteristic wasn’t his talent but the humility to know he had to work constantly to be the best.
From childhood, Serena and Venus Williams would go to the tennis court at 6 o’clock in the morning before going to school and when they returned from school, go back for tennis practice. Any wonder then the two of them have dominated women’s tennis.
It is reported that Demosthenes, a great orator of Ancient Greece, stammered and was inarticulate as a youth yet became a great orator through dedicated practice which included placing pebbles in his mouth.
I read that Tiger Woods’ father started teaching him golf at eighteen months. So it should not be too surprising that he took the world of golf by storm at age eighteen.
The Beatles performed live in Germany over 1,200 times between 1960 and 1964 and by the time they went back to England they had become inimitable. Those hours spent performing paid off.
Bill Gates gained access to a computer in 1968 at the age of 13 and spent thousands of hours programming on it. His efforts have been hugely rewarded.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posited that to become a world-class expert in any field, an individual needs to practice for ten thousand (10,000) hours. It is known as the 10,000-hour rule or principle. His argument is that it takes about 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to truly master a skill. 10,000 hours of dedicated practice in a particular area of interest will make a person an expert. The 10000-hour principle was not propounded by Gladwell though; he only popularised it.
I read in another place that scientific research has concluded that it takes eight to twelve years of training for a talented player/athlete to reach elite levels and that this is called the ten-year or 10,000-hour rule, which translates to slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years. I also read that research now shows that the lack of natural talent is irrelevant to great success. Through practice, you can become what you desire to become.
Hope you are getting the drift of this write-up. This is it: the key to attaining phenomenal success in any endeavour is, to a great extent, a matter of practicing or doing a specific task over and over. I am not asking you to start striving towards meeting the 10000-hour mark. All I am saying is that for us to be hugely successful in whatever we have chosen to do, we must do it over and over again. We should not be waiting for lady luck to smile on us.
Before you jump out to begin your practice, listen to what Michael Jordan has to say: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
Did you get that? Though practice or repeated performance is very essential, it should be done the right way. It is important to practice the right way. And I want to add that if you must commit hours to a particular task or activity, such activity must be what you really enjoy or else you will be sentencing yourself to a life of dissatisfaction, disappointment and frustration.
I couldn’t resist the urge to end this piece with another inspiring quote from Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. . . . I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”

Darasimi Oshodi is a blogger. Read his blogs at
Twitter handle: @Aristotle274
The views expressed above are solely that of the author and not of or its associates.

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