Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” (Thomas Edison)

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary” (Vidal Sassoon)

“Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance” (Samuel Johnson)

I felt that it was a good idea to jumpstart this article with those three quotes above.

It has been said that Thomas Edison (the inventor of the light bulb) attempted and failed more than 10,000 times before he finally succeeded in inventing the modern light bulb; which fact in my book makes him superbly qualified to boldly state what he had to say about failure.

What Factors Differentiate The Best from The Rest?

It’s oft remarked that “Genius Is 1% Inspiration And 99% Perspiration.” Apparently these days scientists can give you an almost exact figure for what it takes to become The Best of The Best in your field. That figure is 10,000 hours of regular practice!

According to modern research persons who excel within the top bracket of their chosen discipline, be they musicians, athletes, academicians or what-have-you, got to their enviable and lofty status mainly through the sheer sweat and grime of repetitive performance, an activity otherwise known as regularly practice.

Undoubtedly talent and even luck have some say in the matter but when push ultimately translates into shove, the marginal difference between being merely good and being absolutely brilliant, boils down to the every grunt work of practice! (Sorry folks…there’s just no way round it)

According to recent studies conducted by neurologists it takes the brain of the typical individual at least 10,000 hours of repeated exposure to a specific pattern of activity before it fully assimilates the exact nature of the activity to the point that the individual can replicate the activity as a true virtuoso.

Consider this somewhat simple but illuminating scenario:

Picture a thick office rug in a hallway upon which hundreds of people tread across each and every day. Over time the trace of a path appears in the rug which apparently serves as a step-marker upon which subsequent visitors follow plodding their way across the hall. In time that path-trace becomes a permanent and worn furrow in the rug. Something similar to that happens in your brain when it is exposed over and over again to the same repetitive patterns characteristic of a particular activity. A deep memory trace becomes engraved across your brain when the same neuronal pathways get stimulated over and over again to accomplish the same specific activity!

Now let’s go back to our rug in the hallway again (rug here is interchangeable with carpet by the way, if you’re happen not to hail from the North Americas). Imagine that some workers wheel in some very, very heavy machinery laden upon a trolley across the rug. The wheels from that trolley are going to leave deep groove-like tracks in the rug. But unlike the permanent marks engraved into the rug from the constant traffic of people walking back and forth through the hallway, the deep furrows created by the trolley disappear within a few days! In other words they are short-lived.

This example is analogous to the memory trace created by regular and consistent repetition over an extended period compared to the short-term memory trace developed from short-lived but very intensive cramming!

The “Fab Four” otherwise better known as the pop group The Beatles apparently practiced 8hrs every day of the week, so that by the time they hit the big time they had already performed at least 1200 live performances! That was no mean feat when you consider that most modern bands never achieve that exalted number throughout the band’s lifespan-which lifespan could extend across several decades!

Nearly Every Overnight Success Was Several Years In The Making!

I’m guessing you have heard or read tale of at least one overnight success story. Certainly if you are no stranger to the internet marketing arena then you have probably stumbled upon plenty of sites and individuals touting their apparent overnight success (or something close to it). But the truth of the matter is that nearly every single overnight success story was at least several months in the making if not years! But publicizing that it took you several years to get where you are (hopefully the top of the heap) doesn’t make for compelling reading and acts even less as compelling argument to persuade people to action!

So it has become common practice for both the mainstream media and the no- so-mainstream and certainly in the internet business world, to either piece your tale of success together in such a way that we the gullible invariably make that invisible leap of assumption that so readily embraces overnight success. Or you can be downright economical altogether with the truth, as illustrated in the following example, and just make up the facts:

Folklore (well actual medialore) has it that former Supermodel Iman (now married to Singer David Bowie) was discovered as a poor herd’s girl whilst tending goats in Somalia. Makes for a compelling rags-to-riches classic tearjerker doesn’t it? But alas, about the only truth to that widely circulated media story was the fact that Iman was indeed from Somalia. She was neither a herd’s girl nor poor! Her father was a diplomat and she was, as is to be expected of a diplomat’s daughter, educated in the finest institutions!

But you gotta admit, that hyped story did make for a riveting Cinderella-like yarn! And seeing as the story was manufactured by a “reputable” magazine it was, for the longest time, lapped up as gospel truth.

So there you have it, the bitter truth in all its sugarcoated-less glory! Unless you win the lottery or are bequeathed a large sum of money by a relative, you are simply going to have to roll up those sleeves and work for your success like all the rest of the overnight success stories out there!

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Ba Kiwanuka is the webmaster of

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