[Letters] Yu-na, the hardworking genius

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[Letters] Yu-na, the hardworking genius


There is something special about Kim Yu-na. As a figure skater, Kim possesses balanced talents from a gifted physical condition and appearance to differentiated expressiveness.

No one can deny the fact that Kim is truly a genius with natural gift.

One who simply relies on talents, however, cannot realize goals. In reality, most gifted people have experienced frustration.

The United States-based Fortune magazine ran an article titled “Secrets of greatness - What it takes to be great.” on Oct. 19, 2006. The article says that no one can be the best only with either talent or genius. Rather it takes excruciating efforts and training to reach the top.

Recently, psychology professor K. Anders Ericsson at Florida State University conducted an interesting study to discover whether either natural gift or effort pays off more in the end. Ericsson asked experts to select several 20-year-old outstanding violinists and examine how well each played the instrument.

The psychologist found out that each of the best performing violinists had practiced an average of 10,000 hours in their whole life. Each of the next best musicians trained for about 7,500 hours and the third best group played 5,000 hours. Hence, the difference in practice time corresponds to the skill gap.

There are some examples in history that verify practice and hard work makes perfect.

Before becoming the World Chess Champion in 1972 at age 29, Robert James “Bobby” Fischer had gone through nearly his entire life training. Tiger Woods also practiced under his father’s intense instructions for some 15 years before becoming the youngest-ever U.S. Amateur Championship winner in 1994 at age 18.

Great speakers like Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill always prepared for speeches and practiced. Luciano Pavarotti, the greatest operatic tenor of all time, was a hard worker.

American inventor and scientist Thomas Edison was a genius who went through many experimental trials and errors in order to create the electric light bulb.

Kim is no exception. Her coach Brian Orser calls Kim a perfectionist who practices hard in his book “One Thousand Jumps for One Leap” which was published last year.

In order to become the best, one has to constantly practice as well as correct mistakes with the help of experts’ instructions.

Not everyone can overcome painful and tough training. Let’s think about the element that allows genius to overcome intense and repetitive training exercises.

It is my belief that those who truly enjoy what they are doing do not consider pain a pain. They also regard failures as precious experience and lessons. Failures motivate them to strive on to face new challenges ahead. They take advantage of failures to make themselves better.

Most of all, their hard working and agony cause other ordinary people to set goals and hopes. That is why we give a big round of applause to hardworking genius.

Choi Hye-rim,

Ph.D. in education
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