The Secret Ingredient To SuccessPosted: October 13, 2011
I’ve spent a majority of my life as an amateur and semi-professional musician. When I was playing trumpet in middle school, we were required to turn in weekly practice time sheets. We had to prove that we put time into mastering our instrument.
Through all my years of musicianship, there is one thing that my instructors, cohorts and idols often said — “practice makes perfect.” Yes, it’s a simple — and albeit — cliché mantra, but it’s what boosted both Beethoven and the Beatles to greatness.
In Outliers, a New York Times bestseller, Malcolm Gladwell explains the importance of practice in his “10,000-Hour Rule”. He argues that the Beatles were successful because they spent four years performing in Hamburg, Germany (over 10,000 hours of stage time) before they returned to find fame and fortune in England.
There is a strong connection of Gladwell’s “10,000-Hours Rule” to the effectiveness and efficacy of any given business professional. E.g. If “Billy-Bob Smith” wants to claim his right to the marketing hall of fame, he must earn it with time and practice. Overnight business heroes are few and far between, and are hardly composed of recent college grads and self-proclaimed experts. Like all renowned professionals — from sports to broadcasting to medicine — we are developed into purified winners through trial by fire, whether it be our own experience or our mentor’s.
The Beatles knew it. Why is it that as businessmen and women, we assume we’re exempt?
Instead, we claim that we have a secret recipe for success — a special formula, a gut-feeling, a 5-step program, etc. The only true secret ingredient to success is time. We can alter the productivity and effectiveness of that time by various means, but the time must be spent — again, either by personal experience or by someone who is willing to pass their’s along.
Here are a few tips to boosting your personal success rate:
- Find a mentor — someone who has been where you want to go and has been successful doing it; someone who isn’t afraid to share the dirty details and set you straight when the time is right.
- Read, read, read — there have been several authoritative studies that show the most common differences in C-level executives and lower-level employees is that CEOs are constantly reading — business books, current events, industry studies, etc.
- Publish or perish — get your thoughts out into the public. Show off your competencies. If you want to be noticed, you have to be noticeable.
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