Have you ever wondered why some people succeed while others never reach their potential? Canadian author and journalist, Malcolm Gladwell believes he has the answer to becoming successful in your craft. He asserts that one must commit 10,000 hours within a decade in order to reach the top. In his 2008 book, Outliers, Gladwell states that “there is no such thing as a “self-made man”. Challenging the belief that success comes from hard work, Gladwell says it’s the years that are spent honing skills comes with the reward of success. Honing ones skill isn’t the only factor leading up to success according to Gladwell; “Success lies in the situations and how one is brought up, shared with perfect timing.”

Gladwell backs up his theory by presenting examples using the success stories of Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and The Beatles, all in which rose to fame by saying not only are they successful by the amount of hours they put into practice (Williams Sisters & Woods) but also the time period in which their success happened (The Beatles) is why they are who they are; putting themselves in situations that they were surrounded by.  It all goes back to the theory of “Nature vs. Nurture. In current context, let’s take 16-year-old, America’s all around gold medal Olympian, Gabrielle Douglas. If Gladwell’s theory was applied to Douglas’ achievement, his theory would be proven correct. Douglas was dedicated to her craft since the age of six. In a decade’s time, she reached her peak.

To understand the meaning of success one must first recognize the process involved in attaining it. When it boils down to it it’s all about opportunity with bits of sprinkled dedication, talent, and chance. Hard work is critical to success, but luck plays a part as well and 10,000 hours of dedication seem to be the way to go. There is no way Gladwell can prove his theories but he sure can raise an eyebrow.

For an in-depth look into this theory, make sure a pick up a copy of Outliers: The Story of Success (2008).