Why do we as a society focus so much on the average of something?
You see it on TV in the news and hear about it from friends, it's all about studying the average. Our scientific reports are also all about the average.
The average person sleeps this many hours. The average person reads this many books. The average salary in my field is...
You study average you end up with average.
Focus on what exceptional people do differently- outliers.
In this fascinating book, Malcolm Gladwell takes his readers on an intellectual journey through the world of the exceptional, the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful people, the people he call —“outliers”.
Gladwell poses a question I tend to wonder a lot myself: what makes high-achievers different? What is so different about the people who rise to the highest point in life?
I'm sure at some point you wondered about this too. The answer posed to the question above is we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. All of these he emphasizes are determining factors in success.
The book uncovers all sorts of amazing stories why gifted people never reached their potential too.
One thing I want to focus on is that there is a big emphasis on luck. It's not the typical luck you and me think of. Gladwell cuts a fine line between explaining luck as in you being born into a wealthy family and opportunistic luck such as being born healthy.
Most might not put any stock into their health as luck (until they are unhealthy). But at the end of the day, that's luck. But if you don't take advantage of that opportunity, it won't amount to anything.
Some people think of luck as black or white. If you're born unlucky, then you have no chance or if you're born lucky, therefore things will automatically come to you. It's really not that way.
You have to grab the opportunity.
Takeaway point: No matter who you are, there is some luck in your life and you have to put emphasis on grabbing that opportunity.
The good news about life is, you only have to grab hold of 1 opportunity, magnify that and get it large enough to make up for the other things in life that you aren't that lucky in.
Below are 7 valuable lessons to keep in mind when we speak of those who reached their pinnacle, the successful.
- Success is more than the outer layer, go for the deep layer.
- The 10,000 hour rule. To be great at anything, it requires at least 10,000 hours of practice.
- Deliberate and consistent practice. Don't practice without a purpose. Instead, make a conscious deliberate effort to get better every day.
- It's not how good you are, but about how good you want to be. Take advantage of your opportunistic luck. (Bill Gates, a young computer programmer from Seattle whose brilliance and ambition outshine the brilliance and ambition of the thousands of other young programmers. This was the story the media portrayed. This was what we all knew but then Gladwell takes us back to Seattle, and we find out that Gates’s high school happened to have a computer club when almost no other high schools did. Also, he took the opportunity to use the computers at the University of Washington, for hours on end. This gave him hours and hours of practice and by the time Gates turned 20, he had spent well more than 10,000 hours as a computer programmer).
- You can model success stories. You can also get into constant deliberate practice and become a master at what you want to do in life.
- It's rare to be great at multiple things in life. Focus on mastering one thing!
- Every success story involves friction and resistance. Things won't be perfect right off the bat. You will see gradual improvement over a length of time. Most give up when the pressure is at its highest. Little do they know success could just be around the corner.
Leave a comment below and share: What's your opportunistic luck? It can be an area in your life or event.