The Iceberg of Success

Read the original post on my blog.

Success: what we all crave yet don't all achieve.

The 4-year resurrection of the summer Olympics has me, and a lot of others, thinking about success. It is so easy to watch these amazing athletes such as Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and Katie Ledecky and be amazed, and a little jealous, of their success. We think to ourselves, Wow, these guys are so lucky to be here! If only I could have done that... But the performances we see at the Olympics supervene the countless hours of practice and hard work.

Although the 10,000 Hour Rule has recently been debunked, the idea behind it is tried and true: it takes time and a multitude of practice to become skilled at something. Of course, natural ability comes into the equation in sports. I, for example, at a height of 5'9", would be a terrible gymnast, (the average height of a gymnast is 5'1"). Just as a gymnast wouldn't be as successful at basketball. They could dribble and I'm sure they would be fast, but they would get blocked by the much taller players.

When we look at the celebrities in our world: Brad Pitt, Kanye West (unfortunately), Taylor Swift, etc., we see a life lived in the limelight, one in which they have grand adventures. It seems that they are constantly jetting off to another country on their private jets, either on tour or for vacation. Or, even if we take a gander at the successful peeps in our own lives it seems like they have everything they could possibly want. They have a well-paying job, a nice house, expensive cars, a family, pets, everything we want but don't have. 

The issue with taking the success of others at face value is that we fail to ask or see the journey they took to achieve that success. For every successful person there are countless hours, sleepless nights, breakdowns, happy times, and stressful events they had to go through to get to where they are now.

About 90% of an iceberg is below the water, leaving only 10% to be seen by the naked eye. It's easy to see how the iceberg has become an analogy for a multitude of topics. It has been used to describe social situations, business, marketing, etc. What makes it an appropriately marvelous analogy subject is because it literally displays what life is all about. 

If you think about it, 90% of what we do prepares us for the 10% of time we spend "shining." Only 10% of the time a student spends on a test is actually spent taking the test, 90% of the time they are (or should be) studying and preparing for it. For every project worked on at work, you spend 90% of the time grueling out the tiniest minute details so that everything will run seamlessly for that 10%.

Don't be discouraged if you haven't achieved success yet. You have yet to live 90% of your life yet. If you think you are entitled to some sort of success, think again. If you can't put in the time, don't expect to reap the rewards.

In the words of Macklemore in Ten Thousand Hours, "the greats weren't great because at birth they could paint, the greats were great cause they paint a lot."

Published by Mackenzie Winterowd

Comments (1)

Aug 14, 2016, 5:49:19 PM

I love this analogy. Simple ways to change people's perspective, and perhaps they will grow to appreciate the hardwork that went into the end result...and ultimately the success.

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