Outliers, The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell

by Nicole Mangina on December 5, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell is a great writer.  He is able to relay very relevant information in such a way that it captures your attention and makes the process of reading his book very enjoyable. He is also the author of the Tipping Point and Blink.

In Outliers, Malcolm researches what is really behind successful people and how they get to be that way.  There are several stories of various circumstances that had significant impacts on people’s lives, but the one section of the book that stood out for me the most is the 10,000 hour rule.  Basically it comes down to those that are hugely successful have spent thousands of hours practicing their craft.  Weather it is the Beatles or Bill Gates, they may have been at the right place at the right time, but even more than that, they spent hours perfecting what they do.  Sure there is talent involved, but if you put 10,000 of legitimate practice into something, there is a pretty good chance that you are going to be excellent at it by the time you are done.

By the time people make it to the top of their game they usually make it seem effortless.  Which means that others trying to follow in their footsteps start to think that if they don’t become an overnight success that they just don’t have what it takes.  But what Mr. Gladwell is telling us is that before that overnight success was thousands of hours of practice.

How many times have you finished a conversation with a client and thought, “that didn’t go well, I didn’t say anywhere close to what I wanted to say”?  How often did you practice what you wanted to say ahead of time?  If you are like most of us, not at all.  We don’t practice what we want to say and we don’t book prep time before our appointments and as a result we don’t always get the results we want.  Now I am right there with probably the majority of you in that sitting down with someone else to practice “scripts” seems cheesy and canned and is not something that I am excited to do.  However, you should definitely be scheduling prep time whenever you schedule an appointment or are about to call a client to get clear on the purpose of the interaction and what you are hoping to accomplish.  So while it may feel silly, clearly practice goes a long way towards success and it is in your best interest to figure out how to do it on a regular basis.

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