Life and Stuff

How to be Great at Anything, Part the Third

*This post is Part 3 of 3. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

at the pinnacle

Lately, we’ve been talking about growing greatness.

It seems to me that many folks imagine talent is something a person is born with. You’ve either got it or you don’t.

I disagree. It seems to me that most of what we perceive as talent is really the culmination of thousands of hours of practice and intense passion.

Perhaps there are some individuals who have a special kind of magic we mere mortals will never touch. If so, I expect those individuals are pretty rare. I also expect it would be pretty difficult to tell the “genius” from the person who put in enough dedication and time to achieving greatness.

Furthermore, maybe greatness isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. None of us have to be world-class to be good. The amount of time, effort and passion required to be world-class is tremendous, much more than many of us would want to commit. I would also venture to say that most of the individuals we admire in a particular field are closer to pretty good than world-class. And that’s good enough.

We’ve talked about how you need to talk to yourself, set goals and practice. Here are my last few ideas for growing your own greatness (or pretty goodness):


This is where I fall down. Frequently. There are only so many hours in the day, and we all have obligations. However fast or slow you progress is a matter of personal preference, but the amount of time you carve out will determine the speed of your progress.

Lately, I’ve reminded myself of this when I’m tempted to Netflix binge.


This has two parts.

1) Visualize yourself practicing. Run through your goals and see yourself doing what you need to achieve them. In as much detail as possible. I also like to call this lazy practice because I believe it still stimulates many of the necessary brain circuits but without the physical drain. It’s not a substitute for actual practice, but it does (in my experience) enhance the learning process.

2) Picture yourself succeeding. You want to see yourself flowing, killing it. For extra fun, act out your Greatness Scenario in front of the mirror. Or in public. Share your (imagined) greatness with the world.

Go ahead.

Don’t be shy.


Take joy in both your successes and your failures.

That’s right, celebrate both.

If you succeed, pat yourself on the back, have a cupcake, call your mom, whatever.

If you fail, you have to do the same thing. Stand up, thump your chest and crow about how amazingly you just screwed up. Stop people on the street and tell them in detail about your miss.


Because failure is the thing that really shows you where you need improve. If you can treat failure like a friend, you won’t so so afraid of it. You’ll be willing to take a closer look. And you’ll learn so much more than you can from your successes.

Also, it just makes the whole learning process more fun. And fun keeps you going.

And there you have it, folks. These are all the ideas I’m using to grow as a writer.

I’m also applying them to a brand new endeavor…learning the cello (more on that another time).

You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


What do you think? Would you add anything to this list? How are you growing your own greatness?

Photo Credit
Energy by Sara Löwgren, on Flickr | CC BY 2.0

6 thoughts on “How to be Great at Anything, Part the Third

  1. I think this is an amazing and inspirational post, Sonia. 🙂 Personally, I think some people are born with a natural affinity towards certain aspects. However, no one is born a master. They do not come out of the womb capable of this skill. They may just not have to work quite as hard to attain a high level of aptitude at whatever they are doing as another person.

    Even so! This could simply be choked up to the concept of varying types of intelligence. Someone who is musically talented is more likely to be good at music than someone who is kinesthetically intelligent. Unfortunately, society still doesn’t fully recognize or accept these other non-classic forms of intelligence and could explain why we consider those to be ‘talents.’ Yes?

    As to myself personally, I have been really wanting to work on my foreign languages. I dabble in two on top of the two I’m fluent in, but given that I have no one to converse with in these languages, the motivation for learning them is limited at best. So, I find myself falling into the trap of not wanting to take the time to learn them when I could be reading/watching Netflix. (Also because the last thing I want to do after a day at work is do, in a way, another form of work. :/ Ah, laziness as its finest. Once I master it, will I be consider a true adult? :p )

    1. Agreed on the different types of intelligence.

      There’s a fellow (I think his name is Benny Lewis) who teaches people to be fluent in any language in 3 months. Eventually, I plan to learn at least two other languages.

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