Advancing Successfully

I recently saw Malcolm Galdwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink and his latest, Outliers-The story of Success.  Here’s what I gleaned from hearing him and reading his fascinating new book.

First a little context: The theme of Outliers is: What makes Successful people successful?  (Hint:  It’s not simply intelligence and ambition.) 

 Here’s what Malcolm said about his new book:

“My wish with Outliers is that it makes us understand how much of a group project success is. When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances— and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds—and how many of us succeed—than we think. That’s an amazingly hopeful and uplifting idea.”

Here are three of the theme’s in Outliers that I found compelling:

1.  Meaningful work must have 3 elements:  autonomy, complexity and a connection between effort and reward.    In the end it’s not the amount of money we make that makes us happy.  Hard work is only a prison sentence if it doesn’t have meaning, which as a coach, I often refer to as fulfillment. 

2.  Extraordinary Achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity.  For achievement to happen, it is beneficial to diagnose what opportunities are naturally occurring that we can take advantage of.  It’s not enough to have talent; it has to be matched to opportunity.  These opportunities are often random in that they relate to timing….like the year or month we were born.  They also are a product of our legacy..The culture from which we come from and how it shapes how we communicate, think or learn.

3.   Mastery:  10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything.  That boils down to practicing 4 hours a day for 10 years.  To master anything it better be something that you love and something you are willing to commit to practicing 10,000 hours.  To me this resonates with the idea of committing to focusing on strengths, niche and passion.  Zeroing in on those things we can spend enough time on to master….or the things we have been practicing long enough to achieve mastery.  Now that I’ve been a coach for 8 years, I resonate with this in that I notice the power of hours and hours of practice.

Ok, thanks for reading my book report.  Let me know your ideas and impressions.

Retreat to Advance Spring 2009
Retreat to Advance Spring 2009