Are you an outlier?

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Do you consider yourself to be an "expert" in a certain area? If so, could you easily say that you've practiced this skill for more than 10,000 hours? Our textbook has only touched on this subject, but once I saw the magic number (10,000) when reading about IQ, I knew that the mind behind the quote was Malcolm Gladwell.


In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell writes about how one simply becomes just that: an outlier. For most, simply being average doesn't cut it. Most people like to feel indispensible and unique, so in effect, they strive to be an outlier.

This book, which is a must read, explains that being a "genius" isn't solely inherited. What we believe are geniuses today in their respective fields, such as Bill Gates and The Beatles, really started out in the same position as everyone else, just average. Sure, they have natural talent, but what set them above everyone else is their dedication and diligence. I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read this amazing story of success, but what did Bill Gates and The Beatles do to become masters of their domain? They worked and worked at it for more than 10,000 hours.


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I would agree that while talent is definitely a factor to success, hard work and dedication will ultimately beat out talent or make up for lack of talent.

This maybe why we hear stories of impoverished individuals such as Justin Bieber turn out to be extremely skilled masters in their craft. My teacher often talked about the 10,000 hours being equivalent to mastering your craft as well as some real-world first-hand experiences on my part. So I can see why the book supports hard work and diligence as a method to success.

It sounds like this book is the classic of the American dream at work. Work REALLY hard and become successful. I like how this value is still so strong in American society.

I completely agree with your point of view that sure someone might have some natural ability but no one is just born a genius. It takes time, determination, and perseverance to become a so called outlier.

So my question is if 10000 is really the magic number why haven't more people achieved such high success? If you do the math, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, take off 10 days for vacation and you have exactly 2000 work hours. Does that mean that after 5 years someone is and expert? Most of our parents have worked more that that at one job or one field, why haven't they achieved the success Bill Gates or others achieved? Just an interesting question I feel needs to be answered before we blindly follow this magical number.

Do you agree with this in the case of super-talented athletes? Sometimes it seems like sports just come incredibly natural to some people. Sure they may practice the sport for many hours after they realize their potential, but is there something that sets them above all the rest?

This book sounds very interesting and is an interesting topic to look at. I agree with much of the others who have commented on this post in saying that hard work and perseverance do make it the chance of being successful more likely. The interesting question asked is the one about sports stars. In this sense, I do believe that genetics play a small factor in the body type a person is given that may give them an advantage in one sport or another. However, hard work seems to be the main factor in people making it to the big leagues. There are numerous high school and college athletes that have the build to make it, but choose not to work hard in school or practice and thus don’t accomplish their ultimate dream. The concept for the book is interesting and I would consider reading what it is to say.

This book seems very interesting to me. Nowadays people always say that they are an expert in a particular field, or that they know everything about something. I would say that more people view "expertise" as a means of acquiring knowledge rather than a means of practice and hard work. I completely agree with you when you talked about The Beatles and Bill Gates, practice really does make perfect!

You have a very interesting entry here. Your claiming, essentially, that practice makes perfect, and I agree with that. But I think there are a couple other items that are important to the practice makes perfect (or almost perfect). First, I believe there needs to be some sort of intelligence related to the persons practice. Bill Gates not only put in over 10,000 hours into his software, but he also had an extremely talented mind to create his first product. Yes it probably took more than 10,000 hours to create it, but he had to have the intelligence to understand what he was doing.

This is an interesting blog post. Last semester I had to read a book called Five Minds for the Future for one of my classes, and it had a chapter talking about the disciplined mind, which is very similar to what your blog is about. The book said that you should devote a minimum of 10 years to your practice in order to become an expert or disciplined in it. So both books seem to go hand in hand and validate the other a little bit.

Practice makes perfect. If we applied this to our psychology class maybe we could all get A's.

I have thought after every test that if I had only studied more, I would have gotten an A because it was always the SUPER specifics that tripped me up (meaning I understood the concept but when applying it, there was something really specific that I didn't notice when answering). Hopefully I can avoid this and be "expert-life" for the final!!

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This page contains a single entry by hahnx214 published on March 25, 2012 3:29 PM.

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