He says that the people that most have considered genius’ throughout time (think Mozart, Einstein, even Tiger Woods) did not end up where they are because they had some innate “spark” of genius that set them apart, but a distinct ability to focus for long periods of time, and to practice a particular skill set over a long period of time.
Apparently Mozart’s early works were not that impressive, but over time, as he practiced his craft more, he developed the necessary acumen to be considered a genius in his field.
In summary, it’s not about genius, but about practice and discipline.
Though I do think that Brooks oversimplifies what true genius is all about, I do believe he has a point that research does prove. This is the same principle that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in his book The Outliers. In this book Gladwell researches people that are top performers in their field and finds that much of these people have arrived where they are because they have put in at least 10,000 hours of practice in their given field.
So that’s about it. Put in the time, and you may develop a particular specialty. Perhaps you’ll even be called a genius in your field.
So what does that mean for us in the ministry realm?
Would you like to become a better preacher? Spend time studying sermons and preaching.
Would you like to become a better counselor? Spend time counseling people.
Would you like to become a better leader? Study leaders and practice leading yourself.
Most people consider Rick Warren to be a very good communicator, and just throw their hands in the air thinking I’ll never be as good a preacher. But most also don’t realize that before he planted Saddleback Church he had already preached thousands of sermons as a youth speaker and evangelist. Many consider Andy Stanley one of the great communicators in his generation, but most don’t realize that he got lots of “practice” by being the son of one of the great preachers in his father’s generation (Dr. Charles Stanley).
I, for one, find great hope in this study. I don’t consider myself a genius on any scale. But as a minister and communicator of the Gospel I want to do what I do with excellence.
So in the words of Bruce Lee, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
So kick away people. Kick away!