Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.
– G.K. Nielson
One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell. He is a unique man with an afro that wrote several great books, including Outliers, an intriguing look into success and how some of the most famous humans have achieved greatness. Surprisingly through, he does not speak about the accomplishments of the individual outliers such as The Beatles and Bill Gates, but rather to HOW they became successful. Their accomplisments we not solely due to talent or genetic gifts, but opportunity, environment, resources, and sheer time spent engaged in their craft. I often think about the power of opportunity and resources in my own life. I am a working mother of three kids, two of which are foster kids. (This adds a whole other aspect to the responsibilities of parenting that I never imagined). We have limited financial resources and often struggle to keep afloat. My wife and I both have hobbies that are not cheap, but they bring us great joy and help us be healthy models for our children. I have a wonderful life!
But one thing that stands out about Gladwell’s stories is that the individuals in the book have an unyielding amount of drive and passion. One does not spend 10,000 practicing the piano, programming computers, or writing stories because they want to get better. It is because they do not feel alive without that one thing. Now, I’m not saying I have one thing in my life that I live for….but I do have passion for triathlon…otherwise 4 am would not seem so exciting. I also understand that I do not have the time to train like a professional nor do I have the resources. I support a family of 5 and that will always take priority. But that does not mean that I do not continue to set reachable goals and work towards my own successes, as small or great as they may be. When I do accomplish goals, it is because I have set my mind and worked hard. I am not gifted, I am driven.