Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the Road to Excellence

In his latest column executive coach Tony Schwartz offers some great advice. Link here.

That is: if you want to improve at whatever you are doing, if you want to advance on the road to excellence, the key is: hard work.

The harder you work at it, the better you get. Whatever skill set you are trying to improve, practice will get you to be better at it. That means increased repetitions, sticking with it no matter how unpleasant the experience, and persevering.

To this excellent advance I would offer a caveat. Schwartz seems to believe that innate talent is of no real consequence. On that point, I would disagree.

If you believe that talent will out, no matter how hard you work, then clearly you are placing excessive importance on the existence of talent.

But still, a man with superior musical talent who never practices will not become a great concert violinist. Similarly, a woman with extraordinary athletic coordination and aptitude will not become a champion volley ball player unless she works harder than everyone else at developing her talent.

As I once said, it is easier and more fulfilling to become great at what you are good at than to become good at what you are mediocre at. 

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