”You can start over again! Don’t even think about quitting now! It is easy to replay in your mind how things did not work, how much you lost, what you are going through, how angry you are. There is no amount of conversation or magic that is going to wipe the slate clean. You are wasting valuable time and energy that could be used to regain a new normal and start another version of your life. Even though you are hurt and you may be feeling down — stop kicking yourself! Face what has happened. Make the decision to start over again”
— Les Brown
Do you want to be great at what you do?
Is that a yes?
Have you done the 10,000 hours?
No. Then how do you plan to achieve greatness if you are not willing to put in the work? Is that a shoulder shrug?
The 10K hour rule was brought to the fore by Malcolm Gladwell. After a careful observation of some of the greatest men and women, from sports to music to art, he concluded that to be the best you have to put in a minimum of 10,000 hours. Those are too many hours you say? Maybe then greatness is not your thing.
The challenge we face today with mainstream media is that we only get to see the end product. We only see that musician selling out concerts and driving cars that cost a foot and a leg. Or that sportsperson we only see cross the finish line, breaking a previous world record that they set in the first place.
That is where our inspiration comes from. Or that politician driving a fuel guzzler with state security. Actually, you know what, for now scratch out the politician. Most live by the principle that the end justifies the means. On to better inspiration, that entrepreneur whose company grosses a million dollar every year. They are usually smilling, giving the impression that it has been easy.
Did someone say that man of God who owns a private jet and his flock has to literally kiss his shoes to get blessings from above. Don’t even go there. I beg.
It is all we get to see.
So we sit around with our thoughts wandering and our hearts yearning for that day, when the song you are yet to even start writing down, will go platinum. You see the gold records hanging on the corridors of your mansion which will definitely have a gym because what is the use of all that money and fame if you are out of shape?
Or you imagine yourself addressing the world on the day you receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Everyone will attentively listen as you give a speech on what inspires you on your journey of discovery. The discovery that will earn you this accolade? You have no idea. But one day it will come to me. You tell yourself as you turn in your bed to enjoy your tenth hour of sleep today.
It is all we know.
I remember growing up I was told you should never look into the kitchen as your meal is being prepared. Reason. The things you might see in there may make you lose your appetite. And most of us have been conditioned this way. We never look into the kitchen.
Then we were also told to never bother with the making of the sausage. It is a messy afair they said. Just enjoy the sausage. They implored.
But none of the greats ever became great by just sitting around. And dreaming of that day they will be the best. The story we don’t get told is of when they were in the trenches. When they were still amateurs. Of how they put in the work. Of how they failed and still continued struggling. Of when life knocked them to the ground and they stood back up. The days they wanted to and most almost gave up.
So yes you have to put it in the work. It is not going to be easy. That is for sure. Otherwise everyone would be a legend in their specific fields. But to get your seat among the greats you have to show up on a daily basis and put in the work.
Showing up is like going into the kitchen you were warned not to. In there there may be rats – representing the days you have no motivation to keep doing whatever you are doing. The failure you will encounter. The people who will try and put you down – and the onions will definitely bring you to tears. You will slip and get some cuts and bruises. But the scars that remain will be your badge of honor. And never forget that each day is an opportunity for you to learn.
So don’t be afraid to get into the kitchen or the sausage factory and put in your hours. Whichever tickles your fancy.
9,999 hours and 30 minutes left for me.