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Why do we fall prey to theories of success?

Why do we fall prey to theories of success?

Theories of success intrigue us because they provide a shortcut. But in following the herd, we deprive ourselves from developing and expressing our originality.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how people and businesses aren’t really obsessed with disruption per se, rather they are in love with theories of success. Silver bullet ideas that you can use to shortcut your way to “success”, theories that become hardened after “supposedly” observing them in the environment.

Recently, another success theory has been shot down: Malcolm Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hour rule.

10,000 Hours to success

Talent is overrated argues Malcolm Gladwell in his new book Heartbreakers release . Although I have yet to read the book I’m fascinated by the idea behind the . Gladwell argues that excellence at a complex task requires a critical, minimum level of practice.

“In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice-skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals,” writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin, “this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years… No one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.”

The real path to great performance and therefore success is a matter of choice. . Just make sure you practice on the things you’re passionate about.

Gladwell’s new book is generating a lot of buzz with countless interviews picking his brain:


For a real treat check out Fortune Magazine’s article from last month. It’s not about Malcolm Gladwell’s book but about the principle of deliberate practice. Uptown Girls movies District 9 psp The essence of deliberate practice is to stretch an individual beyond his or her current abilities. With examples of Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer, Chris Rock, Giants Quarterback Eli Manning to name a few you’ll find this a good read.

Malcolm Gladwell on “meaningful work”


Here’s Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink Out There on dvd discussing some finding from his new book Outliers. Here speaking at the in San Francisco, he gives examples of The Beatles and Bill Gates and how hard work, pouring your heart and mind into something, results in meaningful work and at the same time getting rewarded for it.