Skill : only ingredient needed for success?


"Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”

Malcolm Gladwell

I've been playing and practicing piano for 12 and a half years,and while I'm no Mozart, I can play some of his music. The vibrancy and intensity in his pieces speak volumes to both the performer and the audience of Mozart's skill and talent.


Mozart was writing his own music at age five. He was a child prodigy if you ever saw one. He was surrounded with music from the day he entered the world until the day he left it. His focus on and passion for music soon elevated him far above his peers. At age 6 Mozart was literally supporting his family through playing piano. Now, if anyone has ever had innate skills or ability it would be Mozart. But can his success be attributed to mere inborn talent?


Psychologist John Hayes looked into composers of different eras and found that no one, not even Mozart, composed anything noteworthy until after they had 10 years of practice and experience. This finding is backed up by research done by Anders Erikson, who found that in order to attain excellence and expertise in any field, one must have 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.



In a book I was reading: Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell restates this point:

“Even Mozart—the greatest musical prodigy of all time— couldn’t hit his stride until he had his ten thousand hours in. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”


In his book, Gladwell goes on to study success stories and prove that even Bill Gates and the Beatles did not begin to see results of their talents until after they had reached their 10,000 hours of practice.


Mozart's hands were literally deformed by the time he was 28 because of the hours and hours he spent practicing, composing, and performing. Talent may assist you in succeeding, but talent alone will not hand success to you. You must put in the work. You must work your 10 years or 10,000 hours before you can ever achieve true greatness.




Are you going to put in the practice?

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