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Learn From The Greats and Become Even Greater

Updated on February 8, 2011

Learn from the greats

Have you ever just thought so yourself what does it take to become great? What does it take to reach the top of your game? What does it take to truly become world class at something? Do you ever think how it is possible to achieve such phenomenal success? Many authors,scientists and psychologists have put in many hours researching and studying the reasons why some people and excel in their chosen fields and why some people just don’t, or just remain average. To be great, to achieve greatness we really do have to study the greats, learn about the greats. The ones who have achieved such an amazing level of success, watch them and be greater.

What does it take to become great, an expert in a particular field? Michael Jackson always used to say that to achieve his level of success he studied the greats. He watched them and copied them and made it his own. He saw how hard they worked, for example he talked about Jackie Wilson, James Brown, The Four Tops, The Temptations and The Beatles. How hard they worked. He said to achieve greatness you have to have this unwavering self belief. You have to believe that you can be the greatest and you have to work to achieve that.

Decide on what you want to do

Decide on your goals, write your goals down, make it as clear and concise as possible.


Actually sit down and study the greats, watch them and watch them very carefully. Do as much research as you possibly can. Immerse yourself in information about your role models. Take it all in and look into the methods they actually used to get where they did. One of my writing idols is Maya Angelou, she worked harder than you can believe to get where she is today. Another writer who worked her fingers to the bone was Iyanla Vanzant. These women went through hell and back to get to the position they are in today. They worked and worked and worked and they never stopped writing. I look at Maya Angelou today and she is so humble, she is so graceful but yet she is considered to be one of the greats. She is considered to be one of the experts in her field. The bottom line here is, if you believe you can do something and you want it badly enough work for it.

10,000 hours of practice

David J Levitin, a neurologist who is world class in his own right. Came up with the theory that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become world class. He studied various well known musicians, and sportsmen and various other very successful individuals. He discovered that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve that level of greatness. Malcolm Gladwell talked about this very same theory in his book Outliers, he mentioned the Beatles and Bill Gates. In subsequent studies by other budding scientists sports personalities such as Venus Williams and Rebecca Adlington have been mentioned. There is one trait that seems to be common in every individual who is world class and that is this unwavering level of self belief, determination and sickening work ethic. When I say sickening work ethic, I am talking about practice,practice and more practice.  So, in order to be great you have to keep on learning, keep on absorbing and keep on practicing.

Final Thought

One of the things I always say over and over again is, believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in yourself who else will? If you don’t believe that you can achieve anything who else will?  Believe in the power of hard work, believe in the power of positive thought and keep on striving for greatness. Don’t stop. 

Howard White: The Importance of Hard Work


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