You don't have to be a jerk to be great

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once asked God to give him the power to will one thing. Amid all the distractions of life, he asked for the power to live a focused life, wholeheartedly, towards a single point.

We have all known geniuses and others who have practised a secular version of this. They have found their talent and speciality. They focus monomaniacally upon it. They put in the 10,000 hours (and more) that true excellence requires.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'You don't have to be a jerk to be great'. Print Edition | Subscribe