I’m currently reading a book called, “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell from which I’m learning a number of valuable lessons. There are two recurring themes that made me realize the difference between people that excel at a high level and those that don’t. The natural response to that would be to think the difference lies in a person’s natural ability or intelligence.
“I returned and saw under the sun that, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:11
What if I told you that it’s not entirely true? When we think about highly successful people such as Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg, it’s easy to conclude that they all have superior talents or abilities to their counterparts. Talent alone does not equal greatness even though having it is advantageous.
The pattern I realized of the most successful people is as follows:
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” ~ Les Brown
Every day we are presented with various opportunities to get ahead in life and they are ever evolving. What might have been an opportunity yesterday may be obsolete today. Therefore, the lesson is you need to capitalize on whatever opportunities help you advance in your field of expertise. Matthew 25:29 says, “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
This scripture took on a whole new meaning when I reflected on it in light of the opportunities that come our way. When you take the opportunities that come your way more opportunities present themselves to you. On the other hand when you pass up opportunities they tend to become less and less. I remember someone saying that poor is an acronym for Passing Over Opportunity Repeatedly.
According to scientific studies it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at your craft. Constantly putting forth the required effort to improve yourself moves you towards greatness in your field of expertise. I encourage you to do the same. It’s unfortunate when people give up on their goals because the results are delayed. 10,000 hours is a lot of time but worth it at the end.
Many times it may seem like your effort is wasted but that’s not the case. Bill Gates, for example, did not just get up one morning and decide to start Microsoft. He had already invested a lot of time in computers when he dropped out of college to start his company at a time when the computer revolution began to take shape. That was a classic example of preparation meeting opportunity.
When the two come together massive success is realized as a result. Keep working on improving your skills. An opportunity will soon present itself that will catapult you to the next level.