Children and adults alike fantasize about becoming big successes. Everyone wonders what it would be like to have huge talent, amazing gifts, and the opportunity to become great at something. Fame and fortune is reserved for the lucky few.
But that last part is a lie.
There is no easy street to high achievement.
Certainly a basic level of ability and health is required, as well as opportunity. After all, someone without the blessings of health and peace could not become a big sports star or succeed in business. It's hard to achieve something big when the basic functions of life are a struggle or when you are struggling just to survive.
But that's not the condition of most people within reading distance of this blog. There is a different affliction running amok in their ranks: complacency and the lure of mediocrity. We can safely stay within our comfort zones as long as we can convince ourselves that those pesky high-achievers are somehow "lucky," "gifted," "supremely talented," or otherwise. Any excuse will do when we are looking to duck the pressure of actually becoming a champion ourselves.
The truth about high achievement, however, is quite unsettling. What we discover is that high-achievement comes about from a lot of hard work, deliberately applied, over a long period of time. And THAT'S why champions are rarer than an honest politician. THAT'S why we stop and stare when they perform, THAT'S why we pay super high ticket prices to see them live, THAT'S why we read their books and tac their posters on our walls. They did it. They worked hard. They practiced their craft to the point of mastery. They conquered the excuses and distractions of our modern world and became great in spite of it all!
High achievers don't show us what's possible with talent, they show us what's possible with tenacity. Many times, they even show us what's possible without talent! They demonstrate how great we could be if we could just put down the video game controllers, TV remotes, and iPod Touches.
If a picture's worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth at least a thousand and one. In this clip sent to me by some friends in Maryland (you know who you are), we get a look at a twelve-year old boy who has apparently missed out on a lot of video game time. The message? If you expect to be great, you'd better expect to earn it! (You may have to click the play button after the commercial finishes).