Don’t get me wrong: I would love to have hundreds, nay, thousands of readers showing up everyday to read what I write.
But if they don’t, if nobody shows, I am not bothered or embarrassed.
Because what I am looking to do by writing here every day is:
Fulfill a commitment I made to myself
Get to play with words and practice writing and, in the process, acquire the tools to improve as a writer
I believe that showing up and practicing something everyday is the most effective way to improve a skill.
Therefore, regardless of what else is going on I intend showing up and writing, and improving as a writer.
If you show up and find anything of value: great, it’s a win for both of us.
If you don’t, it’s just a win for me.
Is there something in your life that would benefit from you showing up every day and practicing? Something that would benefit from the 10,000 hours practice referred to in ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell?
It was 1987 or 1988 when I met him. He went on to become one
of the most successful and high-profile figures in Irish business for the next
quarter of a century, or thereabouts.
And his success has always puzzled and annoyed me. Because my
gut feeling, from my observation and conversation on a Saturday morning on the
south side of Dublin back in the 80s, was that he was steeped in luck.
My gut feeling was that if he had not failed in his venture
then he would never have got the big break that he later made the most of. But
he had failed, or at least not succeeded-he was only ‘average’ and it was that ‘average’
that forced him to quit.
That led, fortuitously, to his big break and subsequent
Now I am reading a book that appears to confirm my view, a
view that I could never, by definition, prove.
The book is “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and he puts forward a compelling thesis of how and why spectacularly successful people succeed. He asks the questions such as “is it genius”, “is it IQ?”, luck, serendipity, hard work, a combination of these?
I have not finished it yet but it puts forward some
Success is down to the circumstances you find
yourself-opportunity-and 10,000 hours practice
Where you come from matters-the difference between
high IQ people who achieve and those who don’t is hugely influenced by their
family circumstances, their background, their skills. In a nutshell the
recognition that analytical intelligence is not practical intelligence.
Even if Gladwell’s thesis is not perfect or does not explain everything or the success of every ‘outlier’ I believe it is close enough to be of real value and worth serious consideration.