“Maximized Opportunities + 10,000 hrs. of Hard Work/Practice=Success”
MO+10,000 hrs. hw or p=S
After much procrastination, I finally did the knowledge to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers,” which I enjoyed tremendously. The above stated equation is a condensed representation of what I understood to be the point he was striving to drive home. Throughout the book, Gladwell highlighted key events from the lives of some of the smartest & most successful individuals in the world, in an effort to dispel the idea that success is something born out of “good fortune” or luck. On the contrary, he was able to theoretically show and prove that there was a common thread which bound the journeys of each person. The connection was a combination of maximized opportunities and at least 10,000 hrs. of practice at their chosen undertaking. Although it would be foolish to take the 10,000 hr. figure to represent some static “holy grail” increment of time, which constitutes automatic mastery of a given field of study, one would be hard-pressed to discount the notion that Gladwell’s general idea has merit. We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect” so that variable of the equation is one with which most would be familiar. It’s the element of maximized opportunity that I think escapes most of us simply because we don’t give it very much thought. As I meditated on all of the above, the following story from my Koran came to mind.
When I was in college, I met a lot of interesting people. If I had to choose one character who stood out from the rest, it would have to be this nigga named Big Leon. I met him sometime between 1995 and 1996 which would have been my sophomore year. On face value, one wouldn’t have thought he and I would have very much in common. For starters he was literally a big dude. He stood about 6 foot five and weighed about 300 lbs. On top of that, he was a gang banger and a dope dealer. I, on the other hand, was a short catholic school educated relative square, comparatively speaking. I don’t exactly recall how we met although I know we became fast friends. We both smoked weed, drank, talked shit, and played NBA Live. Couple that with the fact that we were both from the Chicago area and it becomes apparent how we clicked. Over the years before we lost touch, we hung out a lot and had a lot of interesting conversations. Leon’s insights were so hilarious, I would often bait him into conversations on certain subjects just to hear him talk and make me laugh. Remember, this is a straight up street nigga we’re talking about so he spoke in very direct and blunt terms. His favorite topic of discussion was “bitches” as this was the default term he used to describe women. Let him tell it, he was an authority on the subject. One day Leon said something that I’ll never forget. He was talkin’ about the whole science of “gettin’ pussy” and he said, “Any real nigga will tell you he done fucked up way more pussy than he done got, straight up!” Now at first glance, this comes off as one of the most crass, buck-wild statements in the history of male speech. However, if you can get past the words he used and zero in on the best part of what he said, he was absolutely right. In his own way, he was saying that men have an uncanny knack for squandering opportunities to gain the favor of a woman, particularly as it relates to the likelihood of being intimate with her. This is an idea that I’m quite sure you can all bear witness to whether male or female. Fellas, think about all of the women you tried to get with versus the number you actually sealed the deal with. Then take it a step further and think about the number of instances in which you failed because of something stupid you said or did. In a lot of those situations you probably came pretty close but somehow, some way, you managed to fuck it up. Ladies, I know y’all feel this shit too. Think about how many times you were all set to give a nigga some and he managed to say or do something so idiotic and off putting he got you out of the mood with a more terrific speed than he got you into it leaving you thinking, “I can’t believe I was about to get naked with his dumb ass!” So the question is why does this happen? There are quite a few answers I can think of from my Koran. I can recall situations where I was too thirsty, and began to press and try too hard. Since women are intuitive and extremely adept at picking up on such things, that vibe was detectable, she picked up on it and wound up repelled. There were other times, when I didn’t get any because I didn’t even recognize the opportunity to do so staring me in the face. Some of these were cases where I thought the queen might dig me but I wasn’t sure, or I thought she was out of my league only to find out down the road, after my window had closed, that she had a thing for me all along. Lastly, and easily the most demoralizing of them all, is that scenario in which my ego bit me in the ass. These were times when I was getting obvious rhythm which I allowed to breed overconfidence. As a result, I acted funny and took unnecessary risks thinking that I could get it whenever I was ready. Obviously, I was wrong again. The sad truth is that most of what men learn about dealing with women comes from trial and error…mostly error. After we continue to mess things up with them over and over again, we eventually start to get the hang of it. While this typically takes years of experience and maturity I assert that if we were more determined to get better at an early age, we would probably achieve consistent success sooner. This would be especially true if we were taught a systematic approach by which we could improve more rapidly.
Ultimately, if we consider the likelihood that we will succeed in a given endeavor, the probability will be skewed based upon how well we take advantage of the opportunities we are afforded and how hard we are willing to work toward the goal in question. An opportunity is simply a favorable set of circumstances. These are those moments in life where everything seems to line up just right and when we correspondingly take the proper complementary action we often get what we need or want. If someone tells you that their company is hiring and that if you forward them your resume they’ll put in a good word for you, that’s an opportunity for you to get a job. If you follow through and send the resume over, you increase your chances of the opportunity translating to employment. However, if you don’t then the window closes and you have officially let it pass you by. So the first key is the ability to recognize an open door. The next key is to enter the door before it closes. The final key is putting in the work necessary to gain the highest potential level of benefit which will often yield additional open doors translating to further potential advancement. I neglected to mention that opportunities don’t always have to randomly be provided to you by someone else. You can actually manufacture them yourself. All you have to do is put your self in position to associate with people who wield power in a cipher within which you wish to advance. If you manage to gain their favor you are likely to be one of the folks they consider for an opportunity when it arises. This is based on the fact that powerful people tend to surround themselves with colleagues they are familiar and comfortable with based on experience with them. At the end of the day, our opening equation speaks for itself…activate it and see what it yields for you.