CotM 10 Tips 7 PersistPersistence is Everything

There’s a truism that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Hopefully, at this point, you’re questioning things, and you realize this probably isn’t exactly true. After all, it would be a little too convenient if it took a multiple of ten to attain expertise in a subject, let alone an exponent thereof.

On top of that, we all know different people have different affinities for various tasks, plus humans in general are wired to learn some sorts of things very quickly, and others quite slowly. For example, I am, as are most people who are on the tall and athletic/thin side, automatically “pretty okay” at any given sport the moment I pick them up; I can’t reliably put the ball through the hoop, but I can sure make sure it doesn’t go in when you throw it.

On the other hand, I lack the level of coordination that would ever let me play anything I’ve ever tried in a professional capacity. Similarly, I am awful at music, and with an enormous investment of time could probably become just okay at it. On the other hand, I never had to practice or study math until I reached calculus. The take-home on this one is that talent will get you were you want to go quickly, but hard work will get you there, regardless. The combination will lay waste to your enemies.

What’s more, once you’re there, you’re going to need to work hard no matter how talented you are. Do you follow? Talent affects how long it takes you to become skilled at something, but it doesn’t do anything to change the reality of how much work you’ll be doing to get there. If you’re relying on talent to get you where you want to go and keep you there, you’re going to have a bad time.

If you don’t put in the best work you can, because you’re talented, then you are wasting that talent. Right? You’ve just used a head start as an excuse to run slower instead of an advantage to go farther. Don’t do that. Pick something you’re good at or something that truly drives you or both; out there somewhere is almost certainly something that does both these things.

You’re going to make excuses. Einstein was wrong; the universe, human stupidity, and excuses are infinite. Remember you’re a liar, and don’t listen to them. Hunt them down, devour them, and use them as fuel to get you where you’re really going. This is your one life, so get to work. Becoming an expert may take ten thousand hours, give or take, but being an expert is the work of a lifetime. Greatness is when you go the distance, and then you keep going.


Because nothing worth doing is easy, and that leaves you with a very simple choice: Work hard, or never do anything worth doing. Persistence or irrelevance.

Get to work.

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