Do you think superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, Dhanraj Pillay, Baichung Bhutia and Leander Paes are natural sportsmen and that they were born to be great? Think again!
All of them have had to make many sacrifices and work very, very hard to achieve international fame. I have been fortunate enough to watch Dhanraj and Sachin working on their skills from very close when they were just making a name for themselves. They would chart out a plan for the day, work on a particular skill for 2-3 hours, practice with the team and then, when everybody had gone home, would stay back to work on their fitness. This is single-minded dedication. Even if they were natural sportsmen, they did not take things for granted. They wanted to succeed, and they were willing to sacrifice anything to achieve their goals.
After Sachin 'failed' on his first tour to Pakistan when he was hardly 16, he confesses to have felt that he may never play for India again. But did that thought make him work less at his skills? He worked even harder and before long he was on his way to England with the Indian team, where he was a runaway success. For 15 days before he left for Ol' Blighty, Sachin practiced at the RCF Sports Club wicket (which he believed closely resembled English tracks) and played only those strokes that he would play in England. Sachin knew, at a very young age, what it takes to be successful. He also knew that he had to keep smiling while he slogged!
The secret to working hard, staying on course despite failure and never, never giving up is to smile while you slog. Enjoy the hard work and enjoy the feeling that you get after putting in a hard day's work. Don't listen to the people who tell you that 'it can't be done'. Keep at it and remember the saying: 'The man who moved the mountain began by moving small stones'!