Can you groom winners? Or are they born?

Michael Phelps’ phenomenal and unarguably insurmountable medal & world record run at these Olympics makes one wonder. Are people like Phelps who reach the pinnacle of fame, success, respect, domination, or authority in their field a product of creation or destiny?

Not only sports, be it science, society, music, or arts – we know the examples. Einstein, Gandhi, Newton, Mozart, Ali, Jobs, Gates, Tendulkar, Schumacher, Leonardo DaVinci, Michelangelo. These names are familiar, treated with utmost respect, they are people who truly reached the dizzying heights in their cause, in their field. Was it just a result of circumstances, upbringing, personality, intelligence, dedication, and hard work? Or is there more to this? Examples like these are rare, few and far in between. No doubt there are many, many others who have achieved high success. But.

This is a deep subject. It’s not simple. Statements such as “if you set your mind to something, nothing is impossible” don’t capture and answer this question. I understand that success and achievement cannot be life’s singular purpose. And yet, many of us are in an elusive pursuit of them.

Can you groom a champion? Can you create a winner? Can you raise a child to rise above himself and become a human of the highest order? Can you imbibe these traits in an adult and transform him/her?

Or are they just born and merely realize their capacity, their destiny?

5 responses to “Can you groom winners? Or are they born?”

  1. well, according to me champions can be created ,just take example of china,today they have won more gold medals than US which itself is history….. But did they create a phelps or a Bolt the answer is no… they created winners … but the scale of their achievements will be limited. referring to certain legends as you mentioned i think their achievements are rare and i think they are born to become greatest champions ever, no one can be trained to become tendulkar otherwise every boy in the vijay achrekar academy would have become a legend like tendlya…

  2. You’re right. We can create and nurture winners, maestros, and people to achieve greatness but then there are a few rare ones who stand out from the rest and they are just born. There is no other explanation for it.

  3. Little too late but liked this blog. I have thoughts on this. Success as you pointed out is just a destination. But the training and hard work that goes before that can be very very exhaustive, not just physically but mentally too. Many people just give up before they try enough. The super stars you mention are legends and they must have been winning all the time (since their childhood). But even more interesting are the stories of winners who were continuous loosers till one point after which they rose like giants and made history in their fields. The question really is how many of us can really sustain the continous defeats and still not give up? If each one of us figths hard then probably each one of us wins some day.

    1. Nikhil – I like the point about people who have endured repeat failure and yet pressed — until one day they emerge from the ashes of failure to be giant winners.
      Do you have examples of such people? I’d be interested in reading about them.

      It is true, to keep on going is the rare trait that we must all build.

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