Consistency and persistence pay off in the long run, usually rendering people as experts in their fields. Image Credit: Unsplash/Hesam Link

Whether in coding, cooking, playing an instrument or even throwing pots on the wheel, experts are not born – they are made.

Click start to play today’s Spell It and find the word “expert”.

Two Hungarian educators and partners, Laszlo and Klara Polgar conducted their own experiment to prove this notion. In the 1970s, they decided to challenge a popular idea that existed at the time: women cannot succeed, let alone beat men, in areas that require spatial thinking, like chess. The Polgars wanted to show that with education and perseverance, nothing is impossible.

So, they got to work. They homeschooled their three daughters and, as part of their curriculum, introduced them to chess. The girls got into a routine of playing with their parents from a very young age. With systematic training and practice, they thrived. According to a July 2007 report in the US-based business magazine Harvard Business Review, all three Polgar daughters went on to be ranked in the list of the top ten female players in the world. The youngest of them, Judit, became a grandmaster at 15, and grew up to defeat not just other women, but also almost all the best male chess players.

The Polgars’ story is just one example of how consistency and persistence pay off in the long run, usually rendering people as experts in their fields. But it’s not a path that’s easy to follow. It takes time, patience, perseverance and a great deal of sacrifice. There are no shortcuts.

A study published in the 2009 anatomy and physiology textbook The Talent Code, by American author Daniel Coyle, showed this by studying two groups – one that was in a long-term commitment, and another that was commited in the short term. The study found that even with the same amount of practice, those that persevered with their commitment long after the other group had stopped, ended up outperforming their peers by 400 per cent. And when long-term commitment combined with high levels of practice, skills skyrocketed.

The science is clear – becoming the best at something isn’t for the faint-hearted. As American former basketball coach Bob Knight once said: “Everybody has the will to win; few people have the will to prepare to win.”

How long did it take you to gain your expertise? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at