I know a lot of people who have got to the top of their professions, or who are capable of great things. I know CEOs, entrepreneurs, talented cellists and pianists, amazing street performers, psychologists, squash players in the top 40 in the world; I even know me, who is able to speak five languages and who has worked around the world (not bad).
Sometimes I sat in meetings and observed people who seemed to always have the right answer, who were faster and who had the right commercial judgment. Of course, some of that comes from nature.
However, the success of everyone comes from hard work. I mean real hard work. The only way I was able to get my first job after university was as a result of hundreds of hours studying for exams at 16 and 18 years old. The only way I learnt Turkish was by spending hours with Ufuk, for that was his name, and then reading newspapers, and listening to my colleagues in the office. In Italy, it was Valeria, in Spain it was David. Then it was hours with grammar books, declensions, genders, word order and endless vocabulary tests. Same at school for French and German.
A CEO at the weekend told him one reason for his success is just plain hard work, as well as his many other qualities. He looks so relaxed, but I don’t see the thousands of hours of work.
I think about how this applies to my children. I give them the opportunities to enjoy what they do and to excel if they choose. I explain the connection between dedication, endless practice and the results. I also tell them that it is up to them.
I enjoy the feeling when I can do something well, and I dislike the feeling when I know I have not tried as hard as I can. We’re probably all the same. Passion + Dedication + Opportunity = Success (Can I claim that as Knowlman’s Theorum?).