Beyond 10,000 hours
I really appreciate the story about Kobe Bryant, a very talented, wealthy and successful basketball player in this post about the importance of deliberate practice.
The story's too long to quote here, so you should go and read it - but here's the takeaway:
Kobe had a very clear goal at practice: 800 made jump shots. He was deliberately focused on developing the skill of making baskets. The time he spent doing it was almost an after thought. That sounds simple, but it’s very different from how most of us approach our work each day.
That's the key; it's deliberate practice, not just any kind of practice. Focused. Intentional. Goal-driven.
Getting better at something isn't like a montage from one of the Rocky films, it's a long, hard slog punctuated by failure and, sometimes, despair.
On a daily basis, this doesn’t have to look big or impressive. And that’s good, because it will often feel like you’re failing. What feels like struggle and frustration is often skill development and growth. What looks like little pay and no recognition is often the price you have to pay to discover your best work. In other words, what looks like failure is often the foundation of success.
Show me someone successful and I'll be able to point to either a big pile of cash behind them or, more likely, a lot of deliberate practice.