What does it take to be the best? Are we genetically predisposed for success in certain areas? Can hard work make up for a lack of talent? These are just a few questions that I ask myself on a regular basis. Recently I have invested a lot of time learning about talent and what it takes to become the best in any chosen field.
Twenty five years ago I stood on the terraces at Carrow Road as an over excited 8 year old watching my idols warm up for a match and assumed that some people were born with a gift to become professional footballers. I accepted that I did not possess this gift but decided that I was going to be ‘the guy that took the warm up’ as this would be as close as I could get to actually being a professional footballer with the limited talent I had. After all, he was still on the pitch wearing kit with everyone watching him so it couldn’t be a bad job.
Fast forward twenty five years to today and it turns out that I have a ‘natural’ ability for coaching which has allowed me to work with hundreds of elite/international/Olympic level athletes – including many footballers. But do I really have a natural ability for coaching?
The reality is that for around 18 years I have been coaching anyone that wanted to be coached (and plenty that didn’t) in dozens of different disciplines. I have constantly made mistakes and tried to learn from them. I have coached a wide range of subjects from high flying executives to homeless people requiring me to adapt my language/behaviour/coaching style to suit each individual. I have coached all over the world in countries with their differing cultures and mentalities which have provided plenty of obstacles and very steep learning curves.
Basically it has taken me 18 years of constant coaching to become an ‘overnight success’ with a ‘natural ability’ to coach.
The more you read about ‘talent’ the more you realise that it may well be a myth. This is not a new theory that I dreamed up – in 1969 an educational psychologist from Hungary named Laszlo Polgar randomly chose chess to prove his ‘theory of expertise’ and declared that his unborn child would become a chess champion. His eldest daughter Susan Polgar became the highest ranked female chess player in the world by the age of 14. By 22 she was the first ever female chess grandmaster and remains the only person ever (male/female) to win the chess Triple Crown.
All of this success occurred because Laszlo Polgar CHOSE for his child to become a chess expert even though he had limited experience of the game himself. To prove it wasn’t a fluke he did the same with his next two daughters who achieved just as much success as Susan. It wasn’t easy, but then nothing that is worth having is ever easy to achieve.
The Polgar daughters dedicated their lives to being successful in a particular field. Most people don’t have the dedication to work so hard for something, therefore it becomes very easy for the majority of us to just plod along accepting that we are never going to excel because we didn’t win the genetic lottery and weren’t born with a natural talent for something.
However, if you have the desire, determination and dedication to be successful you can achieve ANYTHING you want, nothing is too far-fetched. Your level of success is determined by how much effort you put in, the quality of the effort and number of hours of quality learning.
In order to make yourself as successful as possible within the fitness industry you need to dedicate more time to developing yourself. This will allow you to stay in the industry long enough to rack up the infamous 10,000 hours (or 10 years) of experience that is used as a bare minimum to master any task.