What Truly Makes A Champion?

In Matthew Syed’s book, Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice, he takes a look at what forces need to come together to make a champion. It may seem counter intuitive but Syed argues that natural talent in a successful person is actually of pretty low importance. This seems to go against what so many of us believe, or want to believe, that the people who succeed in organized events such as sports or even in business, must have an extreme amount of inherent talent. That seems like the obvious answer and is an easy thing to tell ourselves but it may just be an excuse.

Syed argues that to succeed to a high degree in sports, just like in any venture, it takes an extreme amount of purposeful practice and that’s what truly separates a champion from the pack. The end result of this practice is what we seem to mistake for natural talent. In order for someone to get themselves to the level of “champion” it takes disciplined practice and a willingness to work harder than most of us want to.

Later in the book, Syed discusses the importance of mindset in parenting and how it is important to praise effort rather than talent. As a mother, this struck a chord with me and ending up being a key takeaway.

This absorbing and thoughtful book made me question whether I was putting “disciplined practice” into the areas where I wanted to succeed?

I regularly refer to the world of work being the biggest team sport that any of us will participate in.  This book takes the learning from sport and is analogous to so many activities in business in which we participate. There is no telling what we are capable of when we put our minds to it and choose to build our capabilities through deliberate focused practice.