How the Greats Got That Way

The people you most admire in whatever space you’re after didn’t get there through raw talent alone.


I saw two seemingly unrelated videos this past week. One featured Stephen Curry’s training regimen at Accelerate, of particular interest in light of the Warrior’s record 73’rd regular season win and Curry’s unreal performance on the court as of late. The other featured Youtuber Darbian (new to me) setting a speed record in Super Mario Bros. He beat the entire game in under 5 minutes, which is no small feat.

So why do I share this? Well, they both serve as reminders that high performers make what’s hard look easy. Of course we know it’s not. You don’t hit shots like this without a lot of practice, and you don’t win games like that without a lot of resets.

The point is, the people you most admire in whatever space you’re after didn’t get there through raw talent alone. Natural ability certainly helps, but it’s not enough.

It’s the addition of deliberate practice, effective feedback loops, the right team members, emotional intelligence, the will to win, the focus to endure, learning from mistakes, consistently getting out of your comfort zone, having a beginner’s mind, and a whole host of other champion-esque qualities that you can’t buy online, acquire through a book, or fake your way through for long.

The question is, are you willing to do the work?

Wishing is not the same as working. Lots of people wish they could play ball like Stephen Curry, but not many are willing to put in the required blood, sweat, and tears. The greats got that way through how they trained, persevered, sacrificed, and recovered from setbacks – often behind the scenes. As Under Armour likes to say, “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.”

So what do you want to get better at? Are you willing to do the work?

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