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Archive for May 15th, 2010

It has been suggested by urban myth and scientific pundits that we do not come close to tapping the resources of —or actualizing—our potential.  Dah!

What is a resource and what is actualized or not are subjective matters as is the meaning and the implications of ‘potential.’  Tiger Woods is a good example of how this can be all framed; that is, ‘resources,’ ‘actualized skills’ and the meaning of ‘potential.’  Based on the rules sets used for evaluation, he did well in the golf game part but less well on the husband, communicator, father, business analyst, family member or friend parts.  However, if you are using the idea that is some throwback to an underdeveloped person with unmet interests, he did alright.  It all depends on the frame of reference.

Still others would suggest that intelligence, in some operational way, is made up of the skills we develop. Tiger wasn’t very intelligent in some areas as he was in others; all relative to the rules used to assess his behavior.  Clearly, to keep a stable of secrets that substantive for that long so as not to be discovered or distracted from his game was an act of deliberation and intelligence.

Superior talent then, rather than being a rare genetic mutation, is a result of highly concentrated effort.  Malcolm Gladwell gave the world the relative number of hours it takes to ‘get it done’ in some area of concentration. It is the 10,000 hour rule of success in his Outliers book. While the books interpretive value escapes me, 10,000 hours is a nice number to provide where focused expertise in some small area will yield results, perhaps as it has for Mr. Gladwell in writing a tidy book on confirmation bias.

Thus, the thrust of Gladwell’s book and pointedly of this oplog, is that it is not innate genius or talent that creates great achievers, great works or great breakthroughs but seized opportunities on some aspect of life that, with an extraordinary period of time — a minimum of 10,000 hours — will deliver on the promise.

Einstein didn’t read the latest business gurus or attend the power seminars of T. Peters but he happened upon that theory before it was a theory:

“It is not that I’m so smart, but that I stick with problems longer.”

How really different is that from the modern day saw of “The more I practice, the luckier I get!”?  We all have heard it but still look for the magic, the pill, the magic pill, this or some new-age short-cut.  Talk about self-hypnotic entitlement…!

Randy Jackson on American Idol might attempt to grab your attention by extolling you to “Check this out dog!”  In a less hip fashion I am asking you to test the following:  GET SOME LEVERAGE and see how it affects your achievements!

You and your ideas aren’t going to change in any but trivial ways without getting some leverage and that means some risk of failure.   If failure is important to avoid, read no further.

But if you can tolerate some course corrections, stone walls and echoes, “get some leverage” at doing something you must do because you value something, make the NOT doing something so painful and distasteful to you that you can commit to the hours, the rejection, the near misses and the real possibility of lasting failure. You’ll know you’ve got leverage when you know exactly what to do in the AM to keep you up in the PM.

The repeated attempts to reach beyond our present level will produce clearer views to your achievement.  For some, that may mean graduating from high school while living in squalor.  For others it may mean finding a new use for nanotube technology no one wants.  It’s all subjective evaluation but you can make it real.

Is there anything in your life today you would withstand losses again and again if certainty of tomorrow’s success was in the balance?  

If there is, are those really ‘failures’ or losses or just the feedback from your world? 

If not, when you do find that ‘something,’ go about framing it in a way that keeps you in the game and not in the gallery.

May 14. 2010

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