Sunday, December 28, 2008

What I got out of “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Three factors are essential for successful actualization of a genius:

  • Innate talent (genetical, governed by the threshold principle)
  • Legacy (the cultural and family heritage passed on from ancestors)
  • Opportunity (being in the right place, at the right time, – largely a matter of “luck”)

Also, (and this is key) the process of actualization is unstable. In the sense that two individuals starting with very similar innate talent & legacy, will diverge due to the “best get better opportunities” rule and to the “10,000 hours to expert” rule.

Ok. So where does this leave us, adults, who want to continue actualizatio of our own genius? It seems that all three factors are beyond our control and influence…

And this is where I take a non-traditional view. All three factors can be brought under our influence at any stage in life. The how will take a whole book to map out, so here are just a few brush strokes to start the map:

  • Innate talent consists of genetical (or early childhood, – which for our purposes is the same thing) potential and the fulfillment of that potential through life experience. What I have noticed is that a lot (if not most) adults’ potential has been barely fulfilled. Most types of intelligence (mental, social, emotional, physical) can be substantially improved through training.
  • Legacy is fixed only for kids. As adults we are free to enter the environments that carry different and necessary for us legacy. The institution of mentor/apprentice does exactly that.
  • “Opportunity is random” belief is based on Newtonian model of distinct object/observer Universe. A more accurate quantum model says that our intent can influence what opportunities are offered to us throughout life. Or in the words of Oogway from Kung Fu Panda: “There are no accidents.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment