The superlative of good, “best” comes before the comparative degree “better.” As a result, one must move from point A to point B to point C in order to become the best. The best can be attained in one of two ways. You outperform the competition in the first. This is challenging and unreliable. The second is to perform better than your own, which is under your control. You can achieve excellence by demonstrating four characteristics.
Neeraj Chopra brought home the gold from the 2021 Olympics and made India proud. He departed for the United States despite winning numerous prizes because he needed to concentrate on his game and because the public’s interest wouldn’t go away. The santoor, which was formerly disregarded as unsuitable for classical music, was elevated in importance by the late Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. To play the intricate ragas of Hindustani music, he studied, redesigned, and modified it.
These two examples demonstrate what it takes to become the best in any field.
Knowledge: Whatever field you want to master, it all comes down to how well-versed you are in it. Chopra left for the U.S. to gain advanced knowledge and prepare for the next competition. Sharma experimented with playing the santoor for years before giving a public performance. His biographer, Ina Puri, writes in Shiv Kumar Sharma: The Man And His Music, “He did not have the benefit of learning the traditional gats (fixed compositions) of the santoor since the santoor had no history of classical music. With his background of vocal music, he composed gats of extraordinary excellence, with a melodic and rhythmic blend.”
Diligence: It makes you work hard on your goal without interruption. The secret is not to give up as you experience setbacks, but to rise after every rejection with renewed courage and conquer obstacles. There is a story that Isaac Newton’s papers containing notes of his experiments were partially burnt when his dog upset a candle on them. But he continued his work on the law of gravity.
Self-discipline: This helps to take you nearer your goal. Keep practicing regularly and stick to your timetable. Both Sachin Tendulkar and M.S. Dhoni are said to have practiced for hours every day to play as they did. Budding musicians do riyaaz daily, and singers sacrifice certain kinds of food to protect their voices. Self-discipline keeps them fixed on their aim.
Patience: It keeps a person on the path to excellence. While growing one’s knowledge, abilities, skills, it is easy to lose heart. Sharma did not allow his disciples to perform in public until they had perfected their art, even if it took years.
The hierarchy of needs, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow, includes physiological, safety, love, status, and self-actualization needs. While the first four are necessities for existence, self-actualization is the mentality in which you consistently outperform yourself in a competition with yourself. similar to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won six straight gold medals. This mindset must be developed during one’s time as a student because that is when one has the time.