Becoming an Expert: The Elements of Success, Part-1

I am  always impressed by a concert pianist, or a soccer midfielder, or a truly skillful visual artist. Their abilities seem other worldly. To mention a few, i think Picasso was a master, and Beethoven a genius, without forgetting about Thomas Edison the polymath.

The big question is, what makes these people so skillful? How did they start out like you and I and then become something so extraordinary?

The answer is what i try to discuss in this post.

The truth is part of us wants to believe that success and accomplishment is something innate and magical, so we can recuse ourself from hard work. It this part that account luck or blessings (for believers)  as a factor for success.

The other part of us wants to believe that success is something earned through blood, sweat, and tears — that we too could achieve amazing performance, if only we could devote ourselves to something.

“In reality, it’s a bit of both. “

If you read the book Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success, in which Matthew Syed critically analyses the factors underpinning the success of some of the most extraordinary athletes and artists in the world, you will affirm to this.

The obvious and the popular truth is that it all starts with Outliers . An idea posited by Malcolm Gladwell, who explain that many successful people are a product of their environment rather than merely being ‘gifted’.”

If you study the life and work trajectory of experts, two patterns seem to emerge.

One: they have specific backgrounds or opportunities, as mentioned above.
Two: they put an incredible amount of time and effort into deliberate, effortful practice, for at least 10,000 hours before they completely achieve mastery.


And talking about practice, the best type of practice must include two things:

  1. It helps us to acquire the skills that speed up/automate processes and feedback (see how Brazil develops its soccer players, for example.)
  2. It pushes us to the edge of our competence and forces us to focus. This is where the learning happens.


I will be explaining about these points in greater detail, using examples of a specific process happening in the brains of experts that i have learnt through my recent literature reviews.

Just to give u you a preview, the first point on  importance of automation, feedback and skills acquisition during practice is all based on something we all do called chunking. You probably don’t realize you’re doing it, but you do it all the time. So be sure to read my next upcoming post to learn how you can utilize these to improve the efficiency of your practices that will help to become an expert


But if, Still Interested? Pick up the Mouse and click the underlined phrase link to learn on how to reach the top and how not to choke as you go there !! 😆


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