This month, I was thinking how people become great.
From spectacular athletes to powerful thinkers, certain people have found a distinct formula for success.
So…what is it? What is the secret, powerful method that got them to the top? More and more, I read that greatness is found only after being…boring.
By boring, I mean the discipline to work. Every day — rain or shine. For a long, long time.
It’s neither glamorous nor easy nor fast. It’s a deep and enduring commitment to your craft. Small steps in a thousand mile journey.
Tom Clancy put it well: “An overnight success is ten years in the making.”
Here are a few examples of boring greatness that continue to inspire me:
Before he became a star in basketball, Curry spent many years training his physical and mental game to prepare for the rapid pace of an NBA game. Growing up in Virginia, he practiced on his grandpa’s court — which was so muddy and broken that he had to make every shot so he wouldn’t lose the ball. This relentless practice (almost 1000 shots a day) created an amazing muscle memory that is flourishing on the court.
Before founding four transformative companies, Musk had to learn everything on his own — against tough odds growing up like bullying and his parent’s divorce. He taught himself how to code at very early age and threw himself into learning as much as he could. Case in point: He learned rocket propulsion theory himself as he was founding SpaceX.
Before he became an enduring legacy in US history, Lincoln spent years as an unknown attorney in Illinois. Anything he couldn’t understand, he read deeply about it. Shy by nature, he practiced speaking to crowds large and small to build up his skills as an orator — which became a shining strength when America needed it most. He wrote one of my favorite quotes: “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”
As 2015 ends, I am starting to think of my own goals for next year. Maybe it’s simple as being a little bit more…boring.
Have a wonderful end to your year!