According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill.
And Ghandi said: Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
What do these two things have in common?
See, I was watching an interview the other day with a well-known sports figure. He was sharing all of the hurdles he had overcome in achieving his amazing success.
I sat back and as I thought over his story, I realized how common it is for incredibly successful people in every field to have come from incredibly rough beginnings and face insurmountable challenges on the way to their success.
In fact, our nation is built upon the backs of people who had every reason in the world to quit, but didn't.
The truth is, success often comes long after everyone else around you would have given up.
I have a long history of reaching success after being told I wouldn't. In first grade, my class was working on rope climbing. I've never had crap for upper body strength, but I refused to quit even after I was given permission to.
And I climbed that damn rope. My gym teacher pulled me aside afterwards and said "what I like about you Caraline is that you have persistence". At the time, I had no idea what persistence meant. I went home and looked it up, and it meant something totally different from what I had expected based on the reverence in his voice. I was kind of disappointed, I didn't see how being hard headed was a compliment.
But over the years, I have been grateful for that blind persistence. Once I set my mind to a goal, I am pretty much incapable of turning away from it.
And I can tell you, the moment before you break through to success is often the darkest. It is that bleak moment where everyone is doubting you, and you are doubting yourself, where it feels futile to continue on and you just want to quit, you really really do.
But something deep inside you is too stupid to quit and so you keep on putting one foot in front of the other even though it feels like a total waste of effort. That, THAT is the moment right before you break through and everything falls perfectly into place.
So the key to success, as Gladwell and Ghandi show, is to have the unwavering focus on your goal and have the persistence to keep moving forward toward that goal, no matter how unlikely it may seem.
Success comes not to the most talented, but to the most persistent, the most hardheaded, the most dedicated one in the group.
Might as well be you.