Years ago, one Saturday evening, I went to Rockefeller University in New York City to witness a piano competition.
To my untrained ears, each of the half-a-dozen performances I listened to, were equally mesmerizing. And yet, from all these virtuosos, only a few would go to the final round. And then, only one would win.
And even this winner will have to practice for many years to get to play in, say, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
It can take about 20 years of training in violin or piano to reach that level.
So how does one stay motivated to do this grueling training for 20 years, many hours a day?
The motivation cannot be money — even an accomplished pianist typically earns less than a first-year analyst in Wall Street.
The only way to do it is to build habits and routines. But how do you stick to these routines?
It may start off with parental encouragement or pressure and external rewards, but what sustains you is the joy of creating music.
And over time, something magical happens — you start believing that ‘I am a pianist.’ Your identity has now changed! And that is what will drive you every day.
To put in the years of grind and be the world’s best, change your identity. What you believe is what you will someday become.