How hard are you willing to work for your gold?

I feel very proud to be Kenyan, as the 2010 Commonwealth games come to an end. I am indeed satisfied with the results and must congratulate the Kenya team who did us proud scooping all three medals more than once. Once again we dominated the athletics events as with our flag flying high on several occasions.

Now back to the issue at hand… the Commonwealth games and the nurtured talent that we have and need to explore.

When I look at the lives of these athletes one thing I admire is their attitude and determination to excel. This got me thinking.  What if we were to embrace the same spirit and adopt this attitude, determination in every aspect of our lives and businesses? Wouldn\’t we be far off than we are now?

Many of us play a sport, and we play it well; but we are far off from being the player we wish to be. Supposing you played this sport regularly, say every day, you realise that you progressively become stronger.

However many of us don\’t think so. As a society we\’ve accepted the incredibly durable myth that some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance. This is not so.

Excellence for me is derived from working and building what you have. It is not an inherited trait which determines how good you become at something, but rather how hard you\’re willing to work. In academic circles this is known as deliberate practice.

In order for you to become the best and achieve excellence you must be willing to work and put all the effort required. Practice is not only the most important ingredient in achieving this excellence, but also the most difficult and the least intrinsically enjoyable. This is why very few are willing to go down this road because it involves exhaustion of your physical, emotional and psychological being.

Bear in mind that excellence comes at a price and you must be willing to pay that price.

Take a look at Jason Dunford – the 23 year old Kenyan swimmer who grabbed Kenya its first gold in the Commonwealth games. He began swimming at a very young age and swam in his first competition at the age of 5.

However he continued to nurture his talent and work extra hard to be where he is now. These athletes live for their sport and spend most of their time practicing.

If you want to be really good at something, it is going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with the frustrations, struggles, setbacks and failures that you encounter. In the end, becoming really good at something you\’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.

Remember that you have the remarkable capacity to influence your own outcome and that each time you fail is a chance to begin again this time more intelligently.

As my friend and renowned motivational speaker, Azim Jamal once said, "obstacles are part of the journey of life. When we keep our eye on the goal, obstacles are not threats.  In fact, they become opportunities to create breakthroughs. Energy will come from focusing on your vision, not the obstacles."

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