If you have been working for a while, you may have noticed a few people who are content to do the absolute bare minimum that’s being asked of them. They might not be bad at their job, but they certainly don’t have any passion for it.

Passion is the essential ingredient to being committed to your work, mastering a job, and coming out ahead, even when the odds aren’t exactly in your favour.

I posted in the past about the Wright Brothers and I mentioned about how you should not manipulate others but captivate them, and in his TED Talk, entitled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” Simon Sinek retells the story of these brothers and their competitor Samuel Pierpoint Langley, in the race to build and fly the first airplane.

Many people forget that Langley had far more support and resources at his disposal but what he didn’t have was the kind of passion that was fuelling the Wright Brothers. So, while Langley was was unwilling to personally test his planes, the Brothers were committed to building and piloting their machines, which eventually gave them a winning edge. And nobody remembers Langley anymore.

So, a passionate commitment can be critical. And the competitive advantage also comes to those who have the right habits.

This comes the case to practicing , each and every day, no matter what. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell points to studies, that show the best violists are the ones who spent more time playing the instrument. You have probably heard of the famous 10,000 Hour Rule. That’s how long you should practice before you can master a skill.

But, however, to achieve excellence, you have got to do more than just log the hours. What sets the great performers apart is deliberate practice, which involves pushing past your normal limits, beyond your comfort zone and to new levels of greatness.

To make sure you’re practicing deliberately, ask yourself, “Am I giving this task my absolute attention?” “Am I using this time to it’s full potential?” and “What do I need to practice and improve at this stage?”

It’s so important to remember, especially if your at the beginning, that any discomfort that you put yourself through, will pay off in the long run.

As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Waking up early for a 5am run, or having that gym session after a day’s work, these may be the last things you want to do, but this level of commitment is what’s needed to cross the finish line first.

Chasing Excellence.

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