Success, Gladwell explains, has less to do with intelligence and ambition than we assume, and more to do with opportunity and legacy. Using statistical examples about everything from preadolescent hockey players in Canada to the generational family feuds in western Kentucky, Gladwell offers proof that the factors that determine our success — whether we become an outlier or not — are not merely subject to the whims of a fanciful God, bestowing random blessings as He sees fit.An outlier is defined as “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body, a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.”The example Gladwell uses that stands out in my mind is about math. I hate math. I hate numbers. I despise formulas. From the fourth grade lesson on fractions that I failed (my first “F”), through the required college algebra course, I convinced myself I just wasn’t good at math.But Berkeley math professor Alan Schoenfeld would disagree. According to Schoenfeld, being good at math has more to do with attitude than ability. “You master mathematics if you are willing to try.””Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”Part of success is based on natural circumstances. But another part of it is based on hard work and the willingness to do whatever is necessary to achieve the desired goal.I don’t really like that. That means that instead of being some elusive, intangible thing, success is within my grasp, if I’m willing to do what it takes to obtain it. As a writer, what does that mean to me? It means that in order to be a success as a writer I’m first going to have to write. A lot. I’m going to have to submit my work and deal with rejection. A lot. And I’m going to have to keep writing when I don’t feel “the muse” and when I’d rather be doing something else. Something easier. Something with tangible, built-in rewards.Niki Turner, Inkwell Inspirations, Sep 2009
You should read the whole article.