Becoming an outlier is easy but not simple.

20 Nov

The speed at which everything around us is moving is astounding. In a few short weeks, life can morph from a boring existence to a world you would have never imagined. You can stumble upon a fact today and in a few hours you might start a global revolution. It does happen, it can happen and it will happen if you really want it to. It is a simple theory but being simple doesn’t mean that it is easy.

I have been reading the book “Outliers by Malcom Gladwell and I feel so enlightened. He explains why the few who achieve notable feats manage to do so. Is it simply sheer hard work or raw talent. Was it a combination of factors unknown that led to that?

The book is profound in many respects and several ideas jumped at me. I’d probably re-write it if given the chance, just to ensure I keep hold of the gems I gathered there. He should probably pay me for over-selling his book because I bet you are already itching to buy it, which you should by all means do.

The idea that slapped me hardest on the face is the 10,000 hour rule. It takes 10,000 hours of back breaking practise and toil before one can be regarded as a world expert and have a paycheck that agrees with that. Do you know how long 10,000 hours is? Approximately 10 whole years! Many marriages these days don’t even a accomplish half of that. He then went on to mention all the people that are currently millionaires. Some of these people were thought to rise out of nowhere and spiralled into the scene with their tsunami waves of success. They did not emerge from nowhere. They arose from their 10,000 hours with the confidence and finesse that only 10,000 hours could give and the world stood up and took notice. From the likes of Steve Jobs, the Beetles, to Bill Gates and even the Music prodigy, Mozart.They all had an impressive amount of work put into their craft before they emerged from “nowhere” and revolutionised the world as we know it.

This made me depressed in the same breath that it made me enlightened. Malcolm Gladwell says that the smartest people aren’t necessarily the most successful. It is those who are willing to put in the herculine effort that do eventually stand out and stun the world. You only have to be smart enough and the rest is dependent on your will power and commitment. This is quite encouraging. What depressed me is the fact that 10 years is so darn long. When we think of success, we want it tomorrow not ten years from now. Blame us for being born in the digital era where everything is a click away.

But what comforts me is that as you put in the hours, people will notice along the way and opportunities start to open up. I noticed this trend in the stories. You did not have to hibernate in an underground practise den for ten years and suddenly emerge ready to sprinkle your awesome onto the world. No. It’s a gradual road. And by the time you clock just a year, you will probably be in quite a good position that will encourage you to keep putting in the hours for the anticipation of that ultimate moment when you will be quoted and cruise in the same lane as Oprah. A girl can dream can’t I? Dreams are free after all.

Do you want to be just good or the best. Do you want to be fine or spectacular? Then get ready to roll up those sleeves and work. Shortcuts are for computers. The only way to get to the top is by wearing those climbing boots and start your journey. You will have a large crowd with you at the starting line, but by the time you will have gone half, the numbers will have drastically reduced. The spotlight will then start shining on you and after a short while, people will take notice and they will send choppers to hoist you and cruise you to the top. You only have to be willing to start.


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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


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