10,000 Hours To Greatness

Preston Waters

Michael Jordan was born to play basketball. Steve Jobs was born to change the way we utilize technology. Tony Robbins was born to inspire and lead people to attain success and peace of mind. Babe Ruth was blessed with the ability of being able to hit a baseball further than anyone else at the time.

These are pretty bold statements that give the genetically gifted and extremely talented a birthright for greatness. What the aforementioned heroes would go on to achieve, however, was not solely based on their natural talents. It is just an easy way to explain the average person’s lack of desire to make a name for him or herself.

Many people in this world never strive to achieve anything or even manage to do so. The reason is because they love to give themselves a bullshit excuse of what stands between them and their goals. They love to blame the fact that they weren’t meant to do something or don’t have the resources to become who they have always wanted to be. If they only knew how wrong they are.

Don’t listen to these people. Average people have average minds, which is what keeps them average forever. It’s never just the talent that gets somebody where they want to be but rather their worth ethic and their desire to push themselves beyond their boundaries. Having talent doesn’t mean you automatically get there, most talented people actually don’t make it because they lose their hunger and depend on their natural gifts to get them the life they want.

What you need to understand is that by having one goal and focusing on this objective and nothing else, “average” men and women can in fact have legacies similar to Steve Jobs and Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. Sure it sounds simple but that is where it begins.

Talent is not the determining factor in greatness. No one is born to do anything. Even child prodigies reach their early success because of practice and repetition of a skill they’re so passionate about that nothing else matters to them but how good they are at what they love to do.

By figuring out what you want to achieve in your lifetime and how you want to be remembered by generations to come, you too can become great at something. The only obstacle is time. We can’t just choose a direction in life, work hard, then become successful. It has to be an obsession.

We have to put our one goal at the forefront of our minds. You must convince yourself that nothing else is vital to your life but our objective, and the time we put into developing your skill and CREATING our talent is never-ending until you reach your goal.

If you want something in this world the only way you are going to get it is if you decide to change your life and take it. There are no handouts or free rides. The only way to get what you want is with hours upon hours of practice and hard work. Having a relentless pursuit of excellence is the only real reliable recipe for success.

This is precisely why so few attain greatness in any field. We change our focuses in life. We quit after failing. We lose motivation. The passion we have for our dream is lost. Our fire dies.


Let me ask you this simple question: If you knew that you could master something if you put 10,000 hours of practice, or 1,000 hours a year for the next 10 years, would you? Of course you would, and of course you want to but what separates the ones that do and the ones that don’t is how much they act on what they want to become.

Are you willing to practice for hours everyday without quitting even if you fail time and time again in order to become great? This is something that you have to think about carefully because the journey is not easy. It will get harder every day. People think that success is a straight line but everyone has their own messy path that is hardly ever balanced or promising to say the least.

Many of us will say yes, but almost none of us will do it. Those who have dedicated 10,000 hours to a craft include Napoleon Bonaparte, David Beckham, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Johnson, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Larry Bird, every chess grandmaster in history, every great novelist, playwright, actor, mathematician, athlete or inventor.

Even LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, still works tremendously hard to maintain his status and skill. Nothing can be achieved off of talent alone. The only way to become great at something is with thousands of hours of practice…

The good news for you is that you are 10,000 hours away. The question is, when are you going to start and are you going to hold out to the ten thousandth hour?


Intelligence is something that a lot of people think is inherent, much like talent and they are wrong once again. Intelligence is also something that you gain through hundreds of hours of perfecting your craft. It’s all about mastery and mastery comes when you keep trying and trying.

We see people who are able to make quick decisions as people who are naturally intelligent. This is false. It isn’t intelligence that helps people make better decisions, or more intelligent conclusions. The only way to make an intelligent decision is to have like circumstances readily available in your subconscious. In other words, even with intelligence, practice makes perfect.

In a study done by H. A. Simon and W. G. Chase, even the greatest chess players in the world can’t escape the 10 year rule. It’s not exceptional intelligence that allows them to see a chess board like we see letters combined to make a word. It’s thousands of hours of practice that gives them this “gift”.

When we see random letters we can maybe remember 7 or 8 of them in their correct position. But when these letters make up a word, we can remember every one of them. This is how the mind of a chess grandmaster works when he sees a chess board because he’s seen it so many times. Repetition creates a margin of no error which creates perfection and then it is only a matter of time before the whole world sees what you have achieved.

The Baseline

There has to be a baseline, right? A starting point. You can’t just be great at anything, or can you? The evidence says that you can. Like we said, what separates those who achieve greatness with those who fail or fall short is the persistence required to never quit and ignore the forces trying to take you off course. The most treasured innovators of our time never lost focus even when it seemed that the whole world was against them getting what they wanted.

They stuck with their goal while others changed paths and took on a new mission, found a new favorite sport, or had a new dream. The greats have a singular dream, and they do anything and everything to make it become a reality. While the rest of the world toggles in mediocrity, moving from task to task, they are in a relentless pursuit that will only stop when they reach success.

What Skill Do You Need to Master to Become Great?

Take this knowledge into the real world. What skill do you need to be great? There is one skill that is universal whether you are an athlete or starting your own company, and that is selling. We sell something every day even if there is no money being exchanged.

You could be selling a product, yourself, an idea or a dream. This skill is incredibly important for everyone because we all need to attract attention to something for a living. Of course there are many other skills that come with the field you are in but that is what your 10,000 hours of practice is all about and that is where you gain that experience and expertise to be sharper and more prepared than anyone else in the room.

Do You Really Want Greatness?

A life without the pursuit of greatness will always feel incomplete. It’s missing the full understanding of the passions that make us all human. I understand why so many simply don’t want to put the 10,000 hours in to live their dream or how these people don’t know what these 10,000 hours should be dedicated to.

But if you do, give it the respect of the 10,000 hours rule, because that is what everyone before you did and there is no reason why your journey should be any easier.

Life isn’t easy and neither is becoming great at something. No one sets out to become great at something they hate doing. Each of the people mentioned in this article put 10,000 hours into something they loved. That’s the only way to do it, to dedicating 10,000 hours to something we we want to share with the world.

What do you love to do more than anything else in the world? Start your 10,000 hours right now if you already haven’t. It’s a long road ahead, but don’t think about the destination. The real pleasure to be had, as we always say, is within the journey and the development that ensues along the way.

Preston Waters | Elite. 

Preston Waters