The last two posts have discussed what it takes to be “elite” in whatever we have chosen to do with our lives. We’ve looked at elite athletes and musicians primarily, but briefly mentioned others like Oprah. To refresh, I believe there are three requirements to become what author Malcolm Gladwell calls an “Outlier”:
1. Discovering our gift(s)/talent(s)
2. Having a passion for the gift
3. 10,000 hours or 10 years of practice
I have not discussed the initial step of discovering our gift(s). I think we can often identify gifts and talents in others easier than we can identify our own. Even if we can identify our gift, it has to generate the drive and passion that makes us willing to practice and work hard for 10 years. The definition of gift in this context is “a natural ability or talent”. Other synonyms include aptitude, knack, expertise, capability…I believe we all have at least one, some may have more. This isn’t what Paul defined as spiritual gifts in 1 Cor 12: 4-11; which I believe we all have at least one of those as well if we are Christians.
Part of this discovery process could begin with a passion for whatever gift we have. I can’t imagine The Beatles suddenly declaring they had a gift for playing guitar. I can see where they really enjoyed playing and had a passion for making music which led to the discovery that as Paul so eloquently understated, “we were a pretty good little band”.
I have no secret formula for discovering our gift. I’m not sure I know what mine is; I know some things I enjoy, but nothing that I can say lights a passion inside that I’m willing to work on it for 10,000 hours to become elite. I don’t see that as a problem; we can’t all be “elite” or there would be no such thing as elite. I watched on YouTube the great coach Jim Valvano speak of hearing Olympic pole vaulter Rev. Bob Richards when Jimmy V was sixteen. He said this man he admired and respected said, “The Lord must have loved ordinary people because He made so many of us. BUT every single day in every walk of life ordinary people do extraordinary things, ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things.”
And I think with God’s help all of us ordinary people can do extraordinary things.