Pablo de Sarasate on Practice

“For 37 years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!”

Pablo de Sarasate, Famous Spanish Violinist and Composer

It’s easy to look at people who are at the top of their field and believe they were “born a genius.” It’s easy to believe they were gifted with great talent; that they were the lucky winner of some cosmic genetic lottery that endowed them with the abilities which helped them become great at what they do.

Based on my research, I believe – in most cases – this is a huge misconception. I believe most people who are the best at what they do got that way through years of disciplined focus and practicing their craft.

Even Mozart – often considered a born genius – dedicated thousands of hours to his craft before reaching greatness. “People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me,” he once wrote to his father. “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I.”

Genius, greatness, talent – whatever you call it – is not something available only to the fortunate few who were born that way. It’s available to you, and it’s available to me through focus, discipline and practice.

Read: The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk

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