Many people believe that certain people are born geniuses like Einstein or Mozart. This is may be true, however, you can still be an expert in your field even if you don’t have natural gifting.
Robert Greene, the author of “The 48 Laws of Power” says that the fascination we have with prodigies is false. He says that exceptional talent can only be built through hard work.
Greene studied the lives and achievements of extraordinary people. This proves that the notion of being born gifted is not possible. Instead, those who are successful in their fields, whether they be entrepreneurs, scientists or athletes, have a strong work ethic and a focus.
Greene states, “It’s not about the natural or brilliant talent that you have. It is about having that level of practice or experience.” “We must get rid of the old-fashioned notions of genius and creativity.”
Greene’s book examines the prodigies of Mozart and Einstein. Greene says that Mozart, at the age of nine, had already worked 10,000 to 20,000 hours, which is roughly equivalent to the work of a 20-year old. He says that Einstein attributes his success to perseverance.
These are five ways to be an expert in your field, and stand out among the rest, according to the author.
Greene states that teachers and high-achieving people are emotionally and personally involved with their work on a level beyond intellectual curiosity.
Personal commitment to a topic, problem or skill is what is ultimately required to motivate and sustain long hours and fervent curiosity to “mastery” in that field. You will not have the energy, patience, persistence, or ability to take criticism. You will lose your will to win and you won’t be able overcome all obstacles in life.
Greene says that it is absurd to learn entrepreneurship at school. Greene states that being an entrepreneur means doing something. The best way to be an entrepreneur, he says, is to start businesses.
Greene points out that Henry Ford’s two first car companies failed badly. “Failure is what you will learn, so it’s something you really want.” You don’t have to start your own company. Instead, work as little as possible in a small business so you can learn as much as possible. Greene advises against working for large corporations or attending business school. Entrepreneurs will only hire people with master’s degrees. They will give the company the knowledge it needs.
“Don’t focus on the possibility of making your first million. It’s all about learning. Greene says that you are there to gain experience building businesses and that you would like to create as many as possible. In the first five to ten year of college, focus on experience and not money. In those first five to ten years, you will learn more than what you can earn.
Greene suggests that you look for mentors who are already doing the same thing in five to ten years.
Greene states that a healthy mentoring relationship is similar to a parent-child relationship. Mentors should be at least eighteen years old. It is important to have a strong personality. You want someone who matches your spirit. Greene states that if you are a rebellious type you won’t want a traditional mentor.
Greene interviewed Paul Graham to create Viaweb. Viaweb was acquired by Yahoo in 1998 and became Yahoo’s store. He is also a partner at Y Combinator which is an accelerator for entrepreneurs.
Graham was a highly competitive candidate for Y Combinator. He “is able tell you within a minute if he is the next Zuckerberg or not.” Greene said. Unexpected challenges will always arise when building a business. It is crucial to be able to adapt your approach to these unexpected situations.