What do Mozart, Bruce Lee, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, Bob Marley, Steffi Graf, Michelangelo, and Muhammad Ali all have in common? Besides being considered all-time greats and worldwide icons, legends, and prodigies?
The BEST athletes, musicians, artists and thinkers have ONE Universal concept in common: Consistent, Diligent, Purposeful Practice.
Purposeful Practice was the only factor distinguishing the best from the rest.
– Matthew Syed, Bounce.
These people are eating, breathing, and living their art forms.
It is said that it takes 10,000 hours, or 10 years, for one to be considered a master/expert in their field… whatever that field may be. Mozart had clocked in an astounding 3,500 hours at the piano by the age of 6. His first Masterpiece “Piano Concerto 9” was created when he was only 21 years old! That’s 18 years of Consistent, Diligent, Purposeful Practice.
So what makes one’s practice “purposeful”?
Simply put, it is practice that is focused, honed in on enhancing strengths, minimizing weaknesses, acquiring more knowledge, and refinement of technique.
The world sees the Michael Jordan’s, Mike Tyson’s, and Bruce Lee’s as phenoms, prodigies, extraordinary masters, but no one SEES the astronomical quantities of practice that take place behind closed doors. Muhammad Ali up at 4 am running 10 miles. Steffi Graf training 4-5 hours every day since the age 4 and turning pro at 13. Tiger Woods hitting 600 balls a day from the age of 6. Mia Hamm debuting in the U.S. National soccer team at the age of 15. Anderson Silva training martial arts consistently since the age of 14… and he is in his 40’s today. That is some hardcore years of specialized, pain staking, purposeful practice! The snotty nose prepubescent ultimate fighter poser kid knows Anderson Silva is an UFC champion, but not Anderson the 22-year-old amateur boxer, or Anderson the BJJ blue belt.
It’s the people that come in early, skip out on the mundane gossip and train before class starts. The people that stay after to get a few more sparring sessions in and put 50 reps in on that tricky de la riva sweep, armbar, or Thai kick, that progress the fastest.
Becoming great is a byproduct of Consistent, Diligent, Purposeful PRACTICE. It’s one thing to drill 15 reps on a Monday and 15 reps again on Friday, and quite another thing to do 60 reps a day for 6 months straight. That’s 720 reps on a technique 2 times a week for 6 months! 15 measly reps per session doesn’t stand a chance against that kind of dedication and work. But let’s take it further. At 60 reps a day, 5 days a week, for 6 months we now have 14,400 reps… DAMMM! Who do u think will have the better chance at the tournament? The person who put in 720 reps over 6 months? Or 14,400 reps?
The bottom line couldn’t be simpler. If you want to be GREAT at something, employ Consistent, Diligent, Purposeful PRACTICE.