Scientists have observed that two-thirds of an iceberg’s mass is below the water’s surface. Consequently, an iceberg is often used to represent abstract ideas that show little of themselves on the surface. Dr. Anders Ericsson, a leading researcher on expert performance, uses the iceberg to explain the hidden components of success. According to Ericsson, when we look at great artists or athletes, we only see the finished product, which he compares to the tip of the iceberg. What remains hidden from sight are the hours of dedicated practice, sacrifices and setbacks it took to achieve this success. The illusion that he hopes to dispel through this example is that success is the result of natural ability.
Two things that students should take from Ericsson’s iceberg illusion are that success and hard work go hand in hand and that feedback helps us focus how we can work hard. This time of year is a good point to be asking several important questions: In what areas of school can you work harder? Are you using your time wisely? Am I asking the right people for feedback and support? Reflecting on these questions and acting upon them will no doubt help students grow and experience success throughout this year.