What Does It Take?

If you were determined to be a concert pianist, you would determinedly over time develop the habits of mind needed to do so.

Most people seem to believe that great performance is primarily a matter of desire or of sheer willpower. Or maybe of “talent.” That’s a part of our pop-psyc b-s.

The actuality is that people will very rarely ever perform above the level that their long-practiced habits enable. No matter how much a person “wants to” play the piano, it is unlikely to happen without hours of practice developing the habits needed.

The same goes for leaders.

Charlie Brown famously asked, “How can we fail when we’re so sincere?” A stupid question, of course, because “sincerity” has nothing to do with winning. The fact that millions of people may believe it does will not change the way the world works.

The “how-to” industry is supported by an equally stupid attitude. That is: How can I stay in my comfort zone and follow the habits I already have – and still succeed?

Successful leaders know that they have to pay the price of making themselves super-competent. They know that it is not a matter of hope, of desire, or even of “talent.” There is no panacea. They either develop over time the habits they need to be successful – or they don’t.

-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader, Excerpt from How Leader’s Think: Navigating Accomplishment