While I was in college, I developed a fascination with exceptional performance. I became curious about what made Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and company so good at their respective crafts. Before the book “outliers” was published in late 2008, the prevalent popular opinion about exceptional performance centered mostly on unique God given talent. To be fair, that line of thinking seems true on the surface. However, the book “outliers” takes a deeper look into the realm of exceptional performance, citing data from incredibly well done research to unearth what some would consider an unpopular truth – genius has a lot less to do with it than we previously thought.
Alas, after digging through a considerable amount of well done research, Malcolm Gladwell shows that exceptional performance comes only after a mountain of a special kind of hard work called deliberate practice. It shows us that in accord with K.Anders Erickson’s 10,000 hour rule, we must actively seek out the discomfort that comes from trying new things that are just outside the realm of our current capabilities if we are to significantly improve and grow stronger in our chosen fields. Astoundingly, the genius of almost every notable luminary – from Michelangelo to the Beatles – can be traced back to a period in each of their respective lives where they put in at least 10,000hours of this kind of sustained herculean effort.
The nice thing about the concepts in this book is that it applies to a myriad of things whether you want to be a fantastic sprinter, a great teacher, a virtuoso artist, an amazing tailor etc. Reading this book for me was a heavy dose of humble pie, because it threw all my excuses into the garbage, and I suddenly understood that getting to work (and hard too) was the only way. It’s not at all easy, but what else would you rather be doing?
Oyolu B.C. Ph.D.