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Reflections on Outliers

Popularity 5Viewed 1647 times 2016-1-5 09:30 |Personal category:reading|System category:Others| success, outliers

Reflections on Outliers

Success is of enormous significance to modern people in this increasingly materialistic world.

We chase after success due to different reasons. Most of us eager to be successful because we want to be acknowledged by others. Some of us desire to succeed as we want to climb the social totem pole. Some of us yearn for success simply because we cannot resist the temptation of materials. No matter for what reason, the efforts we have paid during the process of achieving success is admirable and applaudable.

We all have different definitions for success. To some people, it's to become considerably wealthy; to some other people, it may be mastering a skill-playing a musical instrument or programming. There are also people who believe that success is to be able to do what we want. 

So success is really complicated. But the book Outliers definitely can unravel some secrets regarding success.

First of all, you should know that success isn't all about self-efforts. I know we have been telling ourselves all the time that as long as we push ourselves hard enough, we can be successful sooner or later. But in reality, it's not the case. If we were born in the wrong generation, we wouldn't be likely to succeed even if we dedicate ourselves to what we do. Now,multitudes of Chinese young people come to realize that it is more than difficult to set up a business in China now compared with 20 years ago. 

Second of all, if you are determined to master a skill, you should bury yourself in learning it and practicing it. Or as suggested in this book, you should practice it for more than 10,000 hours which can distinguish you from the rest ordinary ones in terms of this skill. A lot of people ask me how I learnt English, I didn't and 

still don't have language talent. What is really important is the enormous amount of time I have invested in learning it. So do not even think that there is shortcut or mysterious secrets about acquiring a skill.

Third of all, opportunities matter. Sometimes, we were endowed with life-changing opportunities. They might seem insignificant the moment they were given to us. But as time goes by, it may turn out that they are the tipping points of our life. Bill Gates was sent to one of the best private school where he could practice programming with a time-sharing machine.(not sure whether I am correct. Memory is a bit blurry). This has laid strong foundation for his later career. Beetles had to sing songs 7 days a week in a pub for a whole year before they finally became a internationally renowned music band. Li Cunxin ( a ballet dancer in Mao's Last Dancer) got his life changing opportunity-being selected to be a ballet dancer for the dance academy in Beijing-when he was still very young and then started his journey of becoming one of the greatest ballet dancer. 

Finally, we should not ignore the value and importance of cultural legacy. Analyzing success form this perspective seems very fresh to me. I have never really tried to associate success with this as they seemingly are poles apart. But after reading the book, I have to admit it does exert some influence on our personal success. Take Chinese international students in western countries as an example. Most of them are diligent who will burn midnight oils in order to excel in their academic area. Also the majority of them prefer to stick together as a tight group which makes sense as Chinese culture always promotes collectivism instead of individualism. But it is a pity that Chinese international students don't seem to  be very proactive which may put them at disadvantaged place sometimes. This is also relevant to our culture because traditional culture incubate us to obey the authority and not yell out our disagreements. It is apparently difficult to say whether cultural legacy is a good thing or a bad thing as this entirely depends on the situation we are in. But it is a part of us and it is an indelible part. 

Success may become less curious to me now. But I have to admit that this doesn't shake my belief in self-efforts when it comes to success. There are too many things involved in the process of achieving success that we cannot change, such as the family we are born in, the education we can receive, the time we are born, the opportunities we have and the culture in which we are cultivated. It is because of these almost unchangeable or unavoidable things that our efforts seem so vital. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (8 comments)

Reply Report MichaelM 2016-1-5 14:22
A great book (Outliers) and a great blog! Good job!
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2016-1-5 16:48
zodiac sign is utterly important but one of those uncontrollable elements.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-1-6 08:59
MichaelM: A great book (Outliers) and a great blog! Good job!
thank you so much
Reply Report Min1989 2016-1-6 08:59
Dr.Bill.Shen: zodiac sign is utterly important but one of those uncontrollable elements.
I suppose so. But it is not mentioned in the book Outliers
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-1-6 09:56
good books never taught you how to be successful or must-do that lead to success ..
Reply Report teamkrejados 2016-1-6 10:46
Success: being able to sit quietly, reflect on your day and your life so far, and sigh with contentment.
Nothing else matters.
Reply Report Min1989 2016-1-11 09:19
Dracarys: good books never taught you how to be successful or must-do that lead to success ..
Yeah, I think good books provide people food for thought. That should be enough as I don't really think success is replicable
Reply Report Min1989 2016-1-11 09:19
teamkrejados: Success: being able to sit quietly, reflect on your day and your life so far, and sigh with contentment.
Nothing else matters.
I totally agree with you. It's just that I suppose it's not that easy to gain the sign of contentment

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