Quite often people ask themselves why some achieve greatness while others fail to do it. What is the difference between these groups of people and what are the secrets of greatness? These issues are widely discussed in Colvin’s article “What it takes to be great”. In it the author dwells on the possible measures that people can adopt in order to become great and to achieve success. Moreover, Colvin believes that greatness is available for everyone and mentions the fundamental principles people should live by if they want to achieve success. According to the author, it is not only a talent or a gift that makes people great; on the contrary, it is mainly hard work, practice and special mindset.
First of all, it should be noted that according to Colvin one of the main keys to success is hard work. Thus, the author states that it is possible to achieve greatness “only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years” (Colvin). Even more, this work will be rather demanding and even painful. Only this way it is possible to obtain good results. Of course, it is easier to say that one hasn't got enough skills or talent and to give up. However, “talent has little or nothing to do with greatness” (Colvin). And even if a person has certain talent or abilities he or she will never reach success without practice and hard work. It is evident that not everyone is ready to constantly work on their self-improvement and develop their abilities. The majority of people want to obtain great results at once, but it is not the way it usually happens. Indeed, it is only hard work that brings results and contributes to greatness.
Colvin also emphasizes the fact that only through “deliberate practice” it is possible to raise the bar and improve performance. It is obvious that one will never reach success without hard work and practice. The author supports his idea claiming that “the best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call the “deliberate practice”” (Colvin). At this rate Colvin mentions a lot of great people who achieved success mainly through hard work and practice. Among them it is possible to mention such great people as Winston Churchill, Vladimir Horowitz, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, and others. All these people were truly devoted to what they were doing. It is possible to say that it is mainly their hard work, constant practice and devotion that helped them to become great. They devoted all their time and energy in order to achieve their goal and become best in their field. It is clear that success does not come at once. It requires hours, days, weeks and even years of hard work and practice. Of course, not everyone is ready to do that. That is why according to Colvin, “if great performance were easy, it wouldn’t be rare” (Colvin).
So, it is clear that it is impossible to reach success without hours of practice and hard work. However, there is still one more feature that distinguishes one group of people from the other. The main difference here lies in the way people think. Therefore, Colvin states that great people are those who are ready to adopt a new mindset. Successful people are those who generally “adopt a longer-term point of view” (Colvin). They set their goals and analyze all the possible ways to achieve them. Great people always seek for more information; they never stop at what they have already achieved and always want to learn something new. To explain the difference in a mindset of people Colvin provides an example of singers. Thus, amateur singer usually experiences fun during the singing lesson. Professional singer treats this lesson totally different. One is always focused and dwells on how to improve his or her performance. It is evident that successful people are never satisfied with what they already have. They always want to master their skills and to improve their performance. They are not afraid to fail and if they do so they never give up. Instead, they challenge themselves and are constantly trying to become better. They are eager to attain perfection at what they are doing. All in all, it possible to mention three features which distinguish great people and help them to achieve success. Indeed, the secrets of greatness are rather simple. It is possible to say that successful people are those who are ready for hard work, years of practice and a new mindset.
In general, I believe that Colvin’s theory has strong arguments and may be useful for many people. I believe that it may help people to believe in themselves and to achieve their goals. Speaking about myself, once I failed to apply these principles to my own life. Thus, in childhood I was especially good at playing tennis. I enjoyed this kind of sport and showed some good results. My coach used to tell me that I had a talent and was able to reach success in this field. Only now I understand why I failed to do it. I thought that if I had talent I would easily become a successful player. I was training four times a week and treated my games as fun. According to Colvin, it was a great mistake. I liked playing tennis and I could do it quite good but I didn’t treat it properly and didn’t try hard to improve my performance. I worked only with my coach and thought that it was enough. I think that I wasn’t devoted to this sport enough as I seldom practiced by myself. It is possible to say that I relied mostly on my talent. However, as Colvin states, “talent has little or nothing to do with greatness” (Colvin). I see now that talent is not the main ingredient of success. I should have practiced more and devote all my energy and strength to what I was doing. Thus, Colvin stated that people need at least “ten years of hard work before becoming world-class” (Colvin). Unfortunately, but I didn’t follow this ten-year rule. I waited for quick results and failed. In fact, I gave up playing tennis when I failed during one of my tournaments. Probably, I wasn’t motivated enough or didn’t adopt the right mindset. Thus, if you want to achieve success you should think in a totally different way. You should always stay focused and analyze what you are doing. You should always analyze your results and think of all the possible ways to improve your performance. You should always analyze your progress and never treat your work as a fun. This was my huge mistake as I didn’t treat my games seriously enough. Of course, sometimes I practiced very hard and mastered my skills for hours, but I did it rather sporadically. There was always one last step that I didn’t complete in order to achieve my goals. Now I understand that the main keys of greatness and success are hard work, a lot of practice, self-improvement, and a special mindset which includes persistency and devotion to what you are doing.
Colvin, Geoffrey. “What it takes to be great”. Fortune. 19 Oct. 2006. Web. 24 Jul. 2015