Outliers: The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell is a very interesting book with realistic contents that I will be applying in my personal and professional life in years to come. I use the term interesting in a sense that not only it is a quick read but it actually provides a method behind the madness of success. The biggest point that the book makes and I don’t agree fully but to a certain degree that there is no such thing as a self made man.
Right place, right time, right talent in my eyes are the powerful variables that influence as well as motivate the success of a human being. In order for the chemistry of these variables to work right one has to have a desire to capitalize on these variables in order to be successful. What I mean by desire is hard work and dedication, a relentless want to be perfect, to be successful, and to be an outlier. Like I mentioned above one has to be at the right place at the right time and a will to be successful.
I have been in the financial industry for a little over fifteen years with the last seven years in a leadership position. The last few years have allowed me opportunities over time to acquire and develop talent. Over the years I have seen good talent go to waste because the individual would not capitalize on the time, place, and resources available to be successful. Majority of times these individuals would not put in the time to be successful. On the other side of the argument the talented individuals who are successful were the first ones in and last ones out.
They were always willing to try new things, were flexible to support the business by embracing change, they were willing to work long hours, and had this enthusiastic drive to “GET BETTER” at all times and under all circumstances. I have to agree with the ten thousand hour rule that the author talks about especially when he uses the Beatles as an example. In my humble opinion the Beatles are a great example but they are one of many as the ten thousand hour rule is true for all the talent that is out there whether you look at entertainment, sports, corporate world, or entrepreneurship.
In others words one has to pay their dues, they have to do their time, they have to stick it out and while doing so they have grow and get better but above all they have to learn from their mistakes and make adjustments as needed, the word strategy comes to mind. As per the National Federation of State High School Association one million high school kids participate in football, one out of seventeen play college football. As per the National Collegiate Athletic Association nine in ten housand high school senior football players eventually end up in the National Football League.
In the 2012 National Football League Draft, out of the one million students who participated in high school football only two hundred and fifty three players were selected. As a kid they had dreams to play football and they achieve their dreams by working hard, sometimes studying hard as well, putting in the hours by practicing longer than anybody else around them, learning, understanding, and practicing new plays.
As a teenager their lives revolve around football once the love for the game has been developed and it is deep enough for them to work hard at representing their high school with new dreams of playing for a good college or university. So essentially out of millions of kids in America who have a dream to play professional football, thousands make it to colleges and universities with football on their mind. They still have to put in the time, the hours, they have to pay their dues to be successful because the dreams just got bigger as in the National Football League.
Out of these few thousand kids and their dreams only a few hundred will be selected to be a part of the National Football League. I can go on and on about any of the professional sports and the success stories behind them or the stories about the shattered dreams based on poor choices but I am not going to; instead I will agree with all the points the author makes in his book. If you don’t put in the time you are not going to be successful no matter what kind of talent you have. If you are than it has to be a pure stroke of luck.
The one point that I will not agree with the author is his theory of the self made man. A self made man has the discipline and the drive to capitalize and maximize his potential, his opportunity, the time, the place, and the luck effectively and efficiently. This discipline and drive is what makes him a self made man. Case in point Troy Aikman versus Quincy Carter of the Dallas Cowboys. They both played for the same team at its peak, both of them were early draft picks; both of them had promising baseball careers before they chose football over baseball.
One is a hall of famer worth millions and is still going strong in his post football career the other one is an independent coach with a long history of arrest records. Did Aikman put in more time than Carter or was Carter less talented than Aikman? I would agree with the later because Aikman capitalized on his natural ability to throw football with his drive to succeed and is still going on. Carter on the other hand did not capitalize to be successful by making poor choices and not learning from his mistakes or in words he did not embrace change or remember the word strategy mentioned above?
Quincy Carter simply did not change his strategy in life. Finally I would rate the book as an eight on a scale of ten with ten being the best. In closing I would like to point out that you don’t have to be Jewish or an immigrant to be successful you have to have the drive, the desire, the need to be successful. In order to do so you have to maximize your potential and opportunity effectively and efficiently keeping in mind that it was your potential that granted you the opportunity. Be willing to change by embracing it and learning from it.