Career blogger Penelope Trunk carries a 2007 article from the Harvard Business Review with her everywhere she goes. The article, called The Making of an Expert, discusses the reality of expertise, which, simply put, is this:
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik.
Being an expert is not what you think, probably. For one thing, the article explains that "there is no correlation between IQ and expert performance in fields such as chess, music, sports, and medicine. The only innate differences that turn out to be significant—and they matter primarily in sports—are height and body size."
So what factor does correlate with success? One thing emerges very clearly is that successful performers "had practiced intensively, had studied with devoted teachers, and had been supported enthusiastically by their families throughout their developing years".
Today the standard for being an international success at anything is so high that the authors say you need to spend at least ten years working in a very focused, everyday way on the thing you want to be great at.
This isn't the first time we've heard this advice, but like Trunk carries around the Harvard Business Review article with her everywhere she goes, it doesn't hurt to get the occasional reminder. Whether or not you're brimming with innate talent, the real key to success is the same old standby: hard work.
Being an expert takes time, not talent [Brazen Careerist]