“But be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em. Thy fates open their hands. Let thy blood and spirit embrace them”( From Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’)
Success, greatness, fame in this world are complex attributes whose underlying principles are not easy to quantify. And even more incomprehensible are high levels of these attained by some …people who are not just achievers but super-achievers. It’s one of those things that we all wonder at some point or the other. How does one person end up with stupendous success and another get relegated to anonymity. That too when they often start off with similar talents and prowess on what seems a level playing field. Take for example Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli. When as teenagers they made their 664 run partnership in an inter-school match, could anyone have predicted the dizzying heights Tendulkar would later reach. Individual merit alone is clearly not the only factor determining success here. There are hundreds of such examples…singers like Lata Mangeshkar, actors like Amitabh Bachchan, scientists like our ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam. Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller by the same name coined the term “outliers” for such people. They are people who do not fit into our normal understanding of achievement. Exceptionally successful they seem to operate at the extreme edge of what is statistically plausible.
More and more studies show that success cannot be achieved purely on our own ambition, drive and hard work, and that there are many variables that contribute to a person becoming a super-achiever. Perhaps it’s a question of being born in the right place, in the right family and the right moment in time that gives them all the right advantages. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have gone through the grind of the ‘10,000 hour rule’, that is spending 10,000 hours practising and perfecting their native talent after which it is said your talent becomes genius. Or perhaps as some conspiracy-theory-whispers would have you believe they are specially created by the super-programmers who designed this world as their little avatars…aliens who walk among us!!
And they are here to stay, for us to be forever in awe of all that humans are capable of…