Malcolm Gladwell describes “outliers” as people who are at the ends of the spectrum – the few who stand out for their artistic success, their business acumen, or their athletic achievements. His book, Outliers, studies these winners like scientific specimens and comes to an awesome conclusion: to be successful in any field, you need smarts. You need opportunities. And mostly, you have to work hard. Really hard. Like “10,000 hours” hard.
Great artists, successful business people, and uber-athletes make what they do seem easy. It’s not. Yes, there are savants, but to be a success in any field, you have to be intentional about the work you choose to do. You have to stay focused. You have to prioritize getting your work done.
And you put in those 10,000 hours to get really, really good.
That’s why intent is so important. If you’re going to spend 10,000 getting good at something, you better love what you’re doing.
- What work sings out to you because it’s delightfully complex?
- What work challenges your best abilities?
- What work would give you the most autonomy, where you would be completely responsible for the outcome?
- What would you like to spend 10,000 perfecting because you know the hours you’re investing are going to get you somewhere really cool?
The energy of good work is incredibly powerful. And remember – you can’t do everything – but you can do anything.
Cheers from Miss Breezy, a gorgeous dog I got to walk this morning at the Animal Refuge League. I don’t think she’ll be at the Refuge League for long 🙂