You'll read headlines about life hacks and shortcuts. If that’s what you're looking for, keep reading to learn anti-hack "secret."
Becoming an expert, mastering a skill, and deep understanding takes time. I’m impressed with the people who put in the time and commitment to excellence, who are always striving to improve. Developing into a chess grandmaster, an Olympic athlete, or professionally playing a musical instrument takes countless hours of practice…in fact, it takes thousands of hours.
Over the course of my martial arts training, I’ve executed more than 40 thousand front kicks along with countless other types of kicks. There are no short cuts, I put in the hours. Don’t get me wrong, there are smarter ways to train, but there is no short cut for putting in the time and concentrated effort. After almost 30 years of training, I am still working on improving. Ironically, the further down the path I go, the mirage of any actual destination has been replaced by the understanding that the journey is the destination.
People who have a single-minded mission understand the idea of compounding. They understand consistently striving to make small improvements over time creates massive advances.
Let’s take the simple idea of making a 1% improvement, and let’s say we do this every day for just 1 year. Initially, you might think over the course of a year would lead to an improvement of 365%, which would be a massive improvement from where you began, but you’d be wrong. Your improvement would actually be over 3,778% (1.01^365). This is the power of compounding small numbers consistently.
How do we become an expert?
It's a 1-step process:
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea of the 10,000-hour rule, taken from research done by Professor Anders Ericsson, which states that to become an expert in anything, it takes 10,000 hours of diligent practice. More recent literature has modified that a bit, to say there is typically a range somewhere around that number. Either way, no matter where you start, often the most difficult part is starting. So start. The sooner you start, the sooner those hours of diligent practice will compound.
Robert Greene wrote a book called "Mastery," and through his extension research on the subject he found when a person becomes a true master in their chosen field, they are able to see and make connections between disciplines that others cannot, they begin to think and move at a higher level, almost like operating in a higher dimension.
Success in nearly every endeavor takes time and lots of diligent practice. Most people will only see the “finished” product of your effort, completely missing what it took to get there. The so-called "overnight" success takes countless hours of repetition, study, and self-reflection.
Ironically, the secret to mastery is wrapped in hard work, and that’s the secret. It’s hidden in plain sight if people really want to look.
-Paul R. Rossi, CFA