The level of excellence is a function of length of time in practice.


A careful study of great men and women reveals that greatness was not just a product of academic studies or formal education, social status or superior breeding, but the greatness of each was related to the discovery, development, refinement of the unique talent or work in which each was involved within a certain amount of time. The neurologist Daniel Levitin said that excellence at performing a complex task or any other task requires a critical minimum level of practice. In fact he said that from emerging picture of studies, ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert.

A story is told of a farmer who sold his piece of land and spent the rest of his life wandering across African countries searching unsuccessfully the gleaming gem-diamond which fetched high prices in the world market. Finally, with great despondence after failing to get any diamond anywhere he went, he threw himself into the river and drowned never to be found.

During this time, the man who had bought his farm one day found a large unusual stone which cut across his property. The stone turned out to be a diamond of enormous value and then discovered similar stones which spread the entire farm. This farm was to become one of the world’s richest diamond mines.

The first farmer had literally owned acres of diamond. But he sold that at practically nothing, only to start looking for them elsewhere. If he had taken time to seek knowledge on how diamonds look like in a raw state and had thoroughly explored the land he owned, he would have had the millions he sought right at his own property. The obvious fact is that each of us at this moment I am writing this article, stand in the middle of his or her acres of diamond. If we only had the wisdom and patience to intelligently seek and effectively explore what we now engage, we will effectively discover that whatever we seek, either financial or otherwise is able to be achieved in excellent manner if we put in required time.

We have seen here that time spent in certain task is critical for the excellent nature of that work. Let us consider Bill Gates for example. Brilliant, young math whiz discovers computer programming, drops out of Harvard School and starts a little computer company called Microsoft with his friends. Through brilliance and ambition builds it into the giant of the software world. That is simply the broad outline. But if you dig deeper you will discover that Gates dropped out of Harvard to have more time to try his hand at his own software company that he had been programming practically non-stop for seven consecutive years. How many teenagers in the world have the kind of experience Gates had at his age? If there are fifty, it would stun the world. Bill Gates put a lot of hours in his programming work.

It should be noted that before we rush out for what we perceive as greener pastures, let us know that ours are green as well or more greener than what we seek. In other words, there is nothing tragic for a person who runs from one thing to another like the farmer who owned the acres of diamond who never stayed with one thing long enough to find it. No matter what your goal may be the road to it can be found in the work you find yourself in or with.

Unfortunately, the average man believes that some business are better than others. Instead of realizing the truth that there are no bad businesses, but there are just those people who do not know the opportunity and seek them long enough. In essence I am saying people who become outstanding in their work are those who seek opportunity for growth and development and who have prepared themselves for the opportunity that surround them every day.

Diamond do not look like diamond in the raw state nor does iron ore look like steel in the raw state. In order to begin prospecting your acres of diamond, start developing a faculty that we call ‘intelligent objectivity’. For example start to understand the opportunities in the industry where your job falls. Become a student of your industry and you will be amazed the opportunities you will see. If you cannot see a limit in the growth of the industry where you are, does it not make sense that there is no limit for your growth. Majority of the people look at their jobs as far as they can go. The question every worker needs to ask is whether they know their jobs as much as they know the industries where the jobs fall. They should do as a doctor or lawyer knows his job within the framework of his profession.

You need to know that the major key to your better future is you. Value makes the difference in results and it takes time to bring value to the market place (reality). In other words, we get primarily paid for value not for the time. Is it possible then to become twice as valuable at market place and make as much twice at the same time? Absolutely yes! How will it happen? Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Jim Rohm said,” If you work harder on your job you will make a living but if you work harder on yourself you will make a fortune.”

It is frustrating to look for above average job without taking time to develop yourself to become above average person. So, for things to change for you, you have to change. Never wish it was easier, wish you were better and wish for more skills. Therefore, to attain a level of excellence and receive or get paid more, you must put more hours in yourself because excellent andvaluable work attract more.