Your best chance to be an Outlier!

We all have been to a zoo once in our lifetime, sometimes as a child, some times accompanying our children.

Do you remember that excitement that we used to have as kids to see an African Giraffe or a Gorilla or Sea Lions, all the way from a different country and continent ?

But while watching all those calm, lazy animals , did you ever wonder how the world looked like from their perspective. Caged, confined with nothing much to look forward the next day.

No, I am not starting a lecture about Animals Rights and PETA (Though i have been a closet animal activist all along).

I am steering this discussion to a different paradigm. The paradigm of human intelligence and preservance (and IQ).

When animals are confined and caged, they don’t have many other things to do as their mind just know a few things to do: Eat , Sleep, Play/hunt…and repeat.

But in these strange times of 2020, as a Human being, are we also doing the same?

True, some of us are working in WFH, Virtual mode and yet others have resumed officers, but are we repeating the same routines all over again, pre and post lockdown?

On that note, let’s talk about Outliers.

Who are outliers? These are people in our society, from amongst us, who are considered geniuses, in any domain, business, sports, religion, politics, software et al.

And some notable examples I would talk about here: Michael Jordan, Bill Joy, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahatma Gandhi, M C Mary Kom, Chattrapati Shivaji, Dhirubhai Ambani,Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Ma.

These are all considered geniuses of their times and field. But what can be common between Chattrapati Shivaji and JackMa (apart from their innate talent, of course).

It’s that one word which we have heard since our childhood, but we keep on ignoring:

“Practice”

We want to have all the comforts in the world, we want to be respected and well known in our field, we want to enjoy the fruits of our labor , but when it comes to practice, our ‘excusist’ syndrome takes over and you often listen yourself saying that dreaded phrase “Oh, I don’t have time”.

A counter-argument that I always hear, oh, I practice my skills when I am working so I can easily become a master at my work…

But, just ask yourself at this moment.

The job, the work that you are doing, Is this where your passion lies? Is this what you see yourself doing 15 years from now? Is this something which will give your fulfilment and fond memories in future.

If not, this is the perfect time to take a pause and think!

Are you riding the hamster’s wheel or have you really started practicing towards your ultimate purpose/ Goal of life?

And this lockdown , caged period we humans are/have faced is probably the best opportunity to practice those skills and gain mastery over what we really want to do?

But, how much practice is enough to gain Mastery/ Expertise on a subject/ topic/ skill ?

It’s a very simple number:

10,000 hours*

(*Taken from Outliers: By Malcolm Gladwell)

So, even if you start practicing your art/ skill for 1 hour per day for 5 days a week, it would take approximately you approximately 40 years to be the master in your field of choice.

But, what if you got a chance to practice, 3-4 hours per day for 5 days a week? The same time period reduced to 10 years ( now that sound more reasonable, particularly for young minds)

Let me ask a question then:

Are your still cribbing about lockdown and and reading this article?

OR

Has your wonderful super-computer already started planning on how to master your skills and be the Outlier in your field by making best use of this stay-at-home opportunity ?

As I leave you with more questions than answers, reflect, set your goals and start your journey.

-MK

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