Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Are Elite Performers Born or Made? by Lanny Bassham
Elite performers are ordinary people with extraordinary traits.
In my profession I meet elite performers daily. I'm sure you know some as well. They look very ordinary on the surface and in most things in their lives they are quite ordinary. So what separates them from the non-elite in their sport or performance area? It is an extra-ordinary trait or two. These traits are acquired by the performer by making a conscious decision to excel. I will give you an example; work ethic.
Work ethic is defined as a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. Elite performers work harder and longer than ordinary folk. You have to pull them off of the field. Given the opportunity they would gladly work at their craft 24/7. Why? I believe that they do not see the effort to advance them in their sport as work. It is who they are and what they were put on the planet to do at this time in their lives. Is this an acquired trait or are they born with this idea? What do you think?
If it is acquired then elite performances are open to all of us but if the only way you can attain these traits are to be fortunate enough to be born with them then you either have it or you don't. It is like being tall or short. It is in the genes. Are there genes for success? I am inclined to believe not. All of the elite performers that I know have had times in their lives when the doubted that they had any gene-born talent for their sport. Now, I am not saying that talent does not exist. I know people that are talented because they can do things with less effort or with less time than it takes others to do the same things. I was not talented for baseball but I seem to be able to shoot a rifle. My point is that I never thought I had a talent for shooting. It did not come easy for me but I found a way to succeed at it anyway. How? I worked hard at it. Overcoming obstacles is never easy but it is always rewarding. The more difficult the obstacle is to overcome the more rewarding it seems. Maybe it is a good thing if you are not so talented because when you can do extraordinary things you will experience an extraordinary elation.
Posted by Lanny Bassham at 9:04 AM