“Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell @Sam’s Book Club

The factors of success can potentially include where you came from, or the month in which you were born as well as other external factors.

Leadership November 4, 2020

The factors of success can potentially include where you came from or the month in which you were born and other external factors.

In this episode, Sam’s Book Club reviews Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian journalist, and public speaker. The book gives perspective on how people achieve success. It says that through opportunity, practice, community, and help from others, triumph is attainable.

Pastor Sam Neves is the Communications Associate Director of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church.  This time, he shares how the opportunities that come our way and the time we devote to them can change our life course.

As you read this book, you will find how many unchangeable things can still create opportunities. You will also realize how the things we have control over can be further improved.

The 10,000-hour Rule

The idea for this famous rule emanates from the book Outliers. What does it mean? It would help if you dedicated an estimate of ten years to practicing the specific thing you want to master… until you achieve it.

Some Opportunities Only Knock On Others’ Doors

Malcolm Gladwell cites an example of junior hockey players born between January and March having a life-long advantage. They are more likely to be included in an elite hockey team, being stronger and fitter than those born in the last quarter of the year, he argues.

The same is true for everyone in life. Some are given chances, while others aren’t.

Where You Came From Can Affect How You Turn Your Life Around

Chris Langa grew up in poverty with an abusive stepfather and became a college drop-out. Despite his genius and the potential to get ahead in life, he lacked practical intelligence, such as dealing with authority. Gladwell concludes that upbringing prepares us for the world.

We can make decisions that can lead us to do better, but our upbringing influences our lives.

Decisions, Opportunities, and Timing

The key is to develop and take hold of opportunities that come our way, especially as teenagers. This doesn’t mean that we can’t do so when we are older. Your whole life is still ahead of you, even in your 50’s!

Ask yourself, when in life, did one decision to make a difference? Think about Bill Gates, who dedicated his time to coding and utilizing the resources he had. He became a master at this, and it brought him tremendous success in later years.

Pastor Sam recalls his childhood and describes how his mother’s choices impacted his opportunities as a child. He was dedicated to serving God. And now, he became a pastor. His mother did everything to ensure he had access to education, even to the point of selling the family home. He was ‘forced’ to engage in public speaking but look where this brought him! He learned to speak English. Now, he works in the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters! 

Jesus told the parable about talents. When you use your talents, more will be given to you. These stories are a testament.

Delayed Gratification: The Path to Success

IQ is vital to success. Some have a higher IQ than others. But Gladwell says this is not the defining factor of success. Delayed gratification is. If you master it, it can determine your success and teach you to work for and value things more. 

The Time You Put into Practice

Pastor Sam is known to be adept at delivering his sermons without notes. How does he manage this? It has been a process. He began when he was young and has continued throughout his life.

It is the ability to do what you need to do rather than what you want to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a genius; without practice, there is no possibility of success. Measure the time you spend on what you do and strive to get better and better.

Longer and Happier Lives

There is a small town in Pennsylvania where people live longer on average. Many who live around Loma Linda, Southern California, apart from having a healthy lifestyle, respect their elders. Honor and respect will flood you with serotonin. Pay close attention to what God says in the fifth commandment. Here you’ll find it states that when you honor your parents, you live longer.

We need to create communities that foster good communication with both the youth and the elderly because this matters.

Author(s)

Sam Neves directs the branding and digital marketing efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. He lives in Maryland with his wife and their 3 boys.

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