What Separates Champions from ‘Almost Champions’


Interesting article on what makes some people “champions” and others “almost-champions.”

Essentially the difference is that “champions” generally had these attributes:

  • They chose the thing they were most interested in, out of several options—it wasn’t ‘forced’ upon them
  • They found as much meaning in the “practicing and training” part, as in the “competing and winning” part
  • Their focus was on being better than they were before, not on being better than some external benchmark or on specific people or competitors
  • They felt supported and empowered by their mentor(s), rather than pressured and controlled

I suppose when it comes to really young kids—like, before they’ve really had the chance to “explore different interests”—or, for certain types of situations, you might have a bunch of “almost champions” all competing against each other, in which case you’ll get a “champion” produced from that group anyway …

Then again I guess that’s not really a recipe for long-term greatness in any field—eventually you’ll come up against people with actual “champion” mentality as measured by those standards and that’s presumably where these differences would show themselves.

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