I’ve read all sorts of books about success: what it looks like, how one attains it, and even how the arguments of nature versus nurture bring about success. But Malcolm Gladwell tells stories about successful and unsuccessful people—supported by loads of “hard data”—that turn all of those fine theories about success on their head.
As it turns out, success is not about the right family, or a strong work ethic, or an outstanding education, or a lucky break, or being born in the right culture or in the right decade. It is all of these things. Success people are successful because of innumerable factors, but the stories that Gladwell uncovers that reveal these fact are astounding.
I recommend you add Outliers to your reading list as soon as you can.
It’s been a debate around golfing circles for years as to which PGA pro gets credit for responding to a fan who quipped, “That was a lucky shot!” The famous reply (variously attributed to either Gary Player, Arnold Palmer or Lee Trevino) is, “You know, the more I practice, the luckier I seem to get.”
Regardless of who said it, there’s so much truth in that statement. Here’s what I’ve learned about success —
NO ONE is an over-night success. “The heights of great men reached and kept // Were not attained by sudden flight // But they, while their companions slept // Were toiling upwards in the night.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
NO ONE is a half-hearted success. “Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” — Zig Ziglar
NO ONE is successful on their own. “Leaders will not experience long-term success unless a lot of people want them to.” — John Maxwell
SUCCESS requires a high price. “Achievers choose what losers won’t and pay the price that others don’t.” — Anonymous
SUCCESS takes dedicated time. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers quotes the 10,000 Hour Rule. He writes, “The biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work.” Instead, he says that highly successful people have put in a minimum of 10,000 hours in a single area (think the Beatles with their music or Bill Gates with his computer programming).
SUCCESS starts with personal initiative. “Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” — Arnold H. Glasow
John Wesley explained how he drew such large crowds in the First Great Awakening by stating, “I set myself on fire, and the people come to see me burn.” If you want to be successful, you must set yourself on fire, pay the price, and do the time.
Are you ready? If so, then burn, baby, burn!