Gladwell argues that success is closely associated with opportunity and timing. He says it takes about 10,000 hours to master something and that gives me comfort. It helps me feel better about my many failed attempts at early attempts to master things (like enameled ceramics, algebra, Salsa dancing, skiing and needlework… to name a few… stuff). I TRY TO BE GOOD BUT I TAKE AFTER GRANDMA SHIRT I kept thinking, “I only have to work overtime if I want to do better.”
While I can see another way to rotate the data provided to support Gladwell’s argument, I’m not interested. For a rare moment, I found myself not wanting to argue. 🙂 Instead, I find myself contemplating what I feel like lucky opportunities in my own life. This reflection is very modest.
Furthermore, I feel the text is being stretched when greater fairness is needed. What can all those with limited opportunities do if there is a greater opportunity? Think Darfur. How many people who can think of a cure for pancreatic cancer have been forced to spend time standing in line waiting for clean water or food?
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My personal experience as a teacher contradicts Gladwell’s main thesis. Many of my refugee students are already literate. They were not given the opportunity to receive formal education. As a result, there are many well-intentioned, but misinformed people who have placed these students in special education courses or attributed their I.Q. low, reducing their chances even more. I TRY TO BE GOOD BUT I TAKE AFTER GRANDMA SHIRT
The students I teach are hungry for skills and spend hours outside of class practicing. They make big profits even though previous opportunities have rejected them. Although many people won’t go on to major colleges after graduating from high school, I feel there is enough opportunity and time for them to get there. Sadly, many families have to depend on them to work to support the family financially. (However, another limited opportunity to spend time focusing on developing skills.)
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