We oftentimes look up to those world-class performers, be it Olympic athletes, the amazing musicians, master artist, or even the top CEO's. We believe they're geniuses and that they must have something special: maybe it's their DNA that they were born with such incredible talent. And that these world-class performers just had more luck along the way to have right encouraging mentor.
Well, let me tell you this. There's no such thing as luck. It wasn't because these Einstein's, Michael Jordan's, Da Vinci's, Steve Jobs were born under more aligned stars than you were. They didn't have more "genius-DNA" in their blood. In fact, the pioneer in researching excellent performance, Anders Ericsson, discovered that "there's no such thing as genius." It wasn't their luck, it wasn't their talent, it wasn't their DNA, and it definitely wasn't the more aligned stars!
In this article, I want to share with you, what I call the 3 secrets to the "World-Class-Performance Code." These secrets are simple, but not easy. And actually, you already know what they are. But the secret lies not in knowing or even understanding it. The secret is in putting them into action and mastering them.
Secret 1: Daily Practice
There's only one road to success, which requires grit, hard work, dedication to make those 7,000-11,000 flight hours (as Anders Ericsson discovered). After approximately 10,000 hours over a period of 10 years of practice, you become world-class. It's simple, isn't it? By continually stretching your own boundaries, growing only as little as 1% each practice (of whatever field you're in), leads to exponential results. Notice that it's not practice, just for the sake of repetition and adding another hour to the count. The essence of daily practice is incremental improvement. Immersing your full attention, your entire body and soul into practice and reflecting honestly is the key to growth.
Let's do some math: if you'd practice daily for a year, and improve only as little as 1% in each practice. At the end of one year, you'd have improved 37x. Over a period of 2 years you've improved 1413x compared to when you started. Over a period of 10 years it's an off the chart number (of 5,9x1015).
You don't take a magic pill and become world champion in a sport, without having ever done that sport before. You don't wake up suddenly from a music illiterate and become Mozart-like-skilled. While it may seem evident in sports and music, it's same in success in business, career, health, happiness or relationships. There are no shortcuts. There's no other way than daily practice.
What's your excuse?
Secret 2: Don't go for world-class results, become world-class
In this society we worship results. Of course, those are the materialistic things that we can touch and see: the gold medal, the Oscar-award, a million-dollars. We've become results-addicts. While there's nothing inherently wrong with results, blindly focusing on the results is not the best way in achieving success. Over the long-run this may lead to burn-outs, losing friends or relationships, happiness, just to name a few.
I have an alternative: focus not on results, but on the process that delivers the results automatically - your habits. And to bring it even one step further: focus not on the results, but on the person you're becoming that naturally has those results. It may seem similar, but there's a huge difference between them.
Becoming the person that is world-class, requires you to align your actions, behaviour, beliefs and identity and constantly improve yourself daily, so that whatever you do is just an expression of who you are. The desired results will follow automatically, and will serve as a mirror of where you are on your path of growth.
So let me ask you this: who do you need to be to be to world-class?
Secret 3: Master the Basics
In martial arts newbies usually are attracted by the great martial artist performing these amazing techniques. They want to be able to do these cool moves as well. As a result, you see a lot of courageous-clumsy-wannabe-cool kicking around.
In this results-oriented, microwave-mentality society, we fail to see that high performance of these advanced techniques come from practicing the basics infinitely. The daily practice of the mundane basics is what leads to excellence. That's the way to become skilful. Not by starting off with the advanced fancy moves, and skipping the fundamental basics. A house build on loose ground without foundation, doesn't survive the first storm. But when your foundation is so deep and strong, that a skyscraper can be built upon it, this withstands the challenges of life.
What are the basics in your line of field, once mastered, makes you the leading expert? I use the term "mastered" deliberately here. To me, striving for mastery involves, in really becoming world-class at it, till the point that you are the one person in the world that knows the most about it, has the most experience, to the point that you can bring your craft to new heights. As a result this will lead to such amazing outcomes. And when others see you perform, can say nothing else but "WOW"! Once you've identified these fundamental basics, dedicate yourself to become a master at these basics. You'll be well on your way to become world-class.
Have you been practicing these basics to the level that you are world-class?