By Tony Horton
What makes Tiger Woods different from you and me? Naturally gifted? Maybe. The guy shot a 48 for nine holes when he was three years old. But then how do you explain child prodigies who fade into “average” adults? Or how did Michael Jordan go from being a junior varsity “flunky” to a superstar? In any endeavor, there are plenty of “naturals,” but far fewer “masters.” So what sets masters apart from the merely talented?
Simply put, masters work longer and they work harder. Working longer means showing up—which is half the battle. But the other half is how they work.
When masters practice, they are intensely focused. Let me repeat—intensely focused. They’re not chatting away on the cell phone while on the treadmill. Their goal is not just to get the job done, but to get better at doing the job.
The big secret is that mastery is a habit. And habits grow. Just ask a three-pack-a-day smoker.
So I’ll take the person who can master a single push-up over the person who can crank out 10 sloppy ones any day of the week. Because the master of one today will be the master of two tomorrow. Turn that kind of focus into a habit that stretches over years and you’re beginning to see what makes a Tiger Woods . . . and why he was already a master at the ripe old age of three.