Outliers – thoughts on success.

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Yesterday I was sitting in my grey armchair, in the afternoon sun, reading a book called “Outliers – the story of success”.

The term outliers was a term I first encountered in a statistics class at university and in this definition of the term an outlier is “an oberservation that is markedly different (in value) than the others of the sample”.

When speaking of the outliers of society, which the book (by Malcolm Gladwell) does, it comes up with names such as Bill Gates and puts forth the “breaks” that the “outliers” have had in order to get to where they are. And, the book argues, not everyone in today’s society gets the same breaks. To some extent, I agree.
True, we are not all suppose to be a Bill Gates, an Einstein or a Stephen Hawking (though I would love to meet them, especially the latter). But that does not mean that we do not, all of us, have a genius.

This is where it gets a little tricky… to explain my own thoughts.
Where I veer off from Gladwell, I think, is in the questioning of the make-up of success. As I understand it, he says: “this is how we – as a society – produce and idolize our geniuses of today/the last century/etc. Through the structure of society which we ourselves maintain”. Up until here, I agree. But I think I’d like to take it a step further. To raise it up on the level of thought.
To investigate, I think one has to ask the question: what is success at its core?

The word success denotes a style of thought that has certain connotations adhered to it. Such as: success equals money, equals prestige, equals intelligence/intellect. This style of thought stands as a pillar in the midst of our consciousness, like Sauron’s eye, commanding unquestioning loyalty. Isn’t this a structural product as well? A thought we repeat, act upon and thus continually embed in our society and our minds?

And how does that affect our (slumbering) genius?

My answer would be: it cripples it. It is the very one-sided thought or definition of what success is, that hinders us as individuals and as a society to connect to our true genius.

All right… 🙂

That was a little philosophical/sociological outburst on this Friday afternoon. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful weekend. And perhaps you will think a little about your own concept of success, your own genius and in what area it is buried?




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