The factor that seems to explain the most about great performance is something that researchers call deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice is hard. It hurts. But it works. More of it equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance. The chief constraint is mental. The required concentration is so intense that it’s exhausting.
Innate talent is nothing, success is 99% hard work.
Top performers perceive more
-They understand the significance of indicators that average performers don’t even notice
-They look farther ahead
-They know more from less
-They make finer discriminations than average performers
-Domain-specific knowledge is power
Mozart’s early work was copying, arranging, and imitating the works of others. His first masterpiece, Piano Concerto No. 9, was created at the age of 21. After 18 years of extremely hard expert training. Mozart became Mozart by working furiously hard.
Tiger Wood started learning golf before the age of 2. After 17 years, at the age of 19 he was on the U.S. team in the Walker Cup. Asked to explain his success, he said “hard work.”
Warren Buffett was born on August 30, 1930. He bought his first stock at the age of 11 worth $120. He didn’t achieve any real success until he read Intelligent Investor at the age of 19. Before then he read every investment book at the library from market timing to technical analysis. At age 20, his net worth was $9,803.70. At age 21, it was $19,738. At age 26, it was $174,000 directly after studying under Benjamin Graham at Columbia and then working for him for a few years. So it took Buffett about 15 years before he really hit his stride. He also got better with age and more practice.
It looks like even for the great ones, it takes around 15-18 years to reach performance excellence.
The best performers set goals that are not about outcome, but about the process of reaching the outcome. They are thinking of exactly, not vaguely, of how to get to where they are going using self-observation.