Sunday, November 30, 2008

10,000 hours

Malcolm Gladwell just released a new book, Outliers. He takes a look at the lives, circumstances, and personality traits of remarkably successful, productive people who make a significant impact in the world. One point that I found particularly interesting is his views on intelligence and diligence.

A certain level of intelligence and education gets an individual to a certain degree of success. However, to get any further, it's actually diligence that carries them. Specifically 10,000 hours of diligence in our chosen field is absolutely necessary if we wish to make a significant impact there. Now, just putting in the hours toiling away in a cube is not a sure-fire plan. You still need that degree of intelligence, and 10,000 hours in the minimum investment necessary.

This particular stat caught my interest because I, like many in my generation, am a job hopper. I have been blessed to have discovered one good opportunity after another in very quick succession. I see a greener pasture and I go for it. That's not to say that every move was a marvelous idea. Most were, though there were some duds to. What is true is that they have all been critical component of a very interesting path that I built for myself.

Now I have a job in a field that utilizes all of the skills I amassed through a variety of different jobs. All the time I put in at my other positions provided the experience to get me to this place, but my accumulation of those 10,000 hours began only recently. Perhaps without knowing it, Malcolm Gladwell made a very profound statement directly to my generation. "Hop around to find your passion. That's fine. But once you find that passion it takes staying power to make it to the top of the heap." Wise counsel, intended or not, and I'm very grateful to him for it.

1 comment:

COL said...

i dug it too. the stuff about cultural legacy was also very interesting -- the concept that people have to be taught how to speak up and assert themselves and have a comfort level with authority before they will say what they mean. odd bit to be reading on a plane -- fortunately my pilots were all American.