Secret of Greatness: What it Takes to be Great by Geoffrey Calvin

Most people want to be great, even the lazy ones. Geoffrey Calvin, in the Secret of Greatness: What it Takes to be Great article, gives a critical analysis of the factors that make some individuals excel in their activities while others remain mediocre performers. Calvin’s paper reveals that hard work and practice, more than any other factors, are the causes of success. However, he is unable to explain why some people commit to arduous tasks and routines that improve their performance, whereas other find it impossibly difficult.
According to Calvin, it is impossible to be great without working hard. He notes that even the most talented individuals should be diligent in their tasks to improve their performance. Calvin opines that a person should not expect immediate results since on average, it takes about ten years for any individual to become great. He also asserts that being diligent is not sufficient to transform one from mediocre performance to greatness. Therefore, an individual should commit a significant amount of his/her time to practice. To ensure that practice routines have the highest impact on the person’s performance, he/she must be consistent with these methods.
Further, Calvin notes that various elements of entrepreneurship are practicable. In particular, he asserts that repeated training on how to negotiate, deliver evaluations, and interpret financial statements can enhance an individual’s managerial skills. Importantly, a person’s mindset is vital in improving the results of his/her practice. In this case, individuals who are more focused on learning get the most benefits. Finally, Calvin opines that successful individuals focus on understanding global changes that affect their activities. Their proactive character enables them to re-align their tasks in a manner that allows them to exploit the opportunities brought by global transformations.
Calvin’s article, Secret of Greatness: What it Takes to be Great, is informative and is especially valuable to any person who wants to be a leader. The paper encourages an individual to be hardworking and to regularly practice his/her tasks to improve his/her expertise. Additionally, the article says that gifts have minimal impact on a person’s ability to excel on his/ her responsibilities. This statement is inspiring to people who have few natural opportunities since the virtues of diligence and exercise are portrayed to be equalizers that guarantee all persons a chance to excel in their tasks.
The views by Calvin on the importance of hard work are essential in enabling an individual to learn how they should focus their energy. The author acknowledges that hard work on its own cannot allow a person to become great, rather one should be able to know what he/she is doing. Accordingly, he implies that the decision to be diligent and to practice should be based on knowledge. Calvin’s conclusion is therefore reasonable and wise since there are a lot of hardworking people who are not great.
Due to the practicality of the suggestions given by Calvin, I will apply his views in my leadership role as a quality control engineer. In particular, I will be hardworking and regularly practice my tasks. The character of hard work will enable to have more experience in my activities. However, since a person must have insight on the field that he/she is working on, I will continuously request my supervisor to give me an appraisal of my performance. This reviews will provide me with insight on the areas that I should practice. Additionally, they will make my purpose of working hard be based on the objective of attaining specific goals.
Calvin’s criticism of talent as a determinant in making someone great is reasonable. According to him, gifts play a minimal role on whether a person excels or fails in his/her duties. This assertion is correct because some successful people are not talented. Apparently, the achievements of those individuals are mostly because of their efforts. Furthermore, all high achievers are hardworking. Therefore, although I am not highly gifted in the management skill of communication, the article will inspire me to exercise on this weakness. This practice will in effect improve my ability to communicate with my colleagues, which will enhance my ability to administer the quality control department.
Besides being a diligent worker and continuously exercising, Calvin notes that a person should be willing to learn. He acknowledges the primary purpose of training and being hardworking is learning. I agree with Calvin’s opinion because unless a person is ready to learn, he/she will never gain experience. Moreover, he/she may quickly become demotivated with the training. In this regard, my desire to become an expert quality control engineer will enable me to adopt and follow a practicing routine easily.
Finally, I will ensure that I am regularly updated about the changes in the engineering field. According to Calvin, successful people are always aware of the global changes that affect their operations, which they adapt and use to their advantage. This view is correct because, in the current global economy, new technologies continuously emerge, which change normal operations of businesses. Therefore, by ensuring that I am always updated on latest developments in the quality control engineering field, I will be able to realize various opportunities that will enable me to become great.
Overall, Calvin’s article Secret of Greatness: What it Takes to be Great is informative and provides insight as to why some people excel while others stagnate. He places a good case on why consistent training and hard work enable a person to learn skills which in turn make him/her great. Importantly, he provides hope to hard-working individuals by supporting the view that talent has a minimal contribution to making one a high achiever. Accordingly, the article should be read by all future leaders since it will enlighten about the factors that enable them to succeed in their positions.
Colvin, C. (2006, October 19). Secret of Greatness: What it takes to be great. Fortune. Retrieved from