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Success by Birth and 10,000 Hours December 1, 2009

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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This past Saturday, I signed my latest children’s books at The Bookmark, a wonderful, independent bookstore in my hometown of Fort Madison, Iowa. While I was there, an illustrator, Mark Anderson, stopped in to visit. He graduated from my high school a year before me. My hometown of 10,000 also produced horror writer Tina Jens (graduating the year after me) and movie star, TV actor, and author Hill Harper (graduating a few years after me). People from my hometown keep asking me, “Was there something in the water those years?”

I have yet to figure out why we had so much creativity come out of Fort Madison during those years. But I read from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, while  staying at my sister’s house, and I keep thinking about one thing Gladwell wrote. He suggested that success is largely influenced by when people are born. He noted that a few scattered spurts in U.S. history account for virtually all of our self-made tycoons.  When the Industrial Revolution started happening, a few men born at the right time rose to the top. Same with the computer revolution.

Gladwell also noted that people scoring highest on intelligence tests don’t always achieve the greatest success. He found that people who achieve it, such as The Beatles, put in about 10,000 hours honing their abilities before reaching that level of success. I’m a practical person, so I immediately calculated how many years it would take a writer to achieve success using this as a formula and writing one hour a day.

Twenty-eight years.

I wonder if blogging counts.

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