I take a lot of inspiration from Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” especially his 10,000 hour rule. Are some people born to be great, to be geniuses and giants, like Gladwell himself? Should the rest of us just give up? No, says Gladwell, the greats achieve their mastery through hard work. He looks into a number of examples: Bill Gates of Microsoft, for example, and the Beatles, and the wealthy merger king Joe Flom, who began with almost nothing. Behind such different kinds of success he finds one pattern: the greats have done long hours of practice day by day over many years. Roughly 10,000 hours in each case. Hence the 10,000 hour rule.
Not just 10,000 hours of any kind, of course. Hours devoted to a single form of mastery. The average high school graduate has spent 15,000 hours in school, for example, but not in mastery of a single skill. What does this tell us about schooling and education? Customization, as I call it, could make the hours in school add up to more; add up to what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has called “The Flow.” Ways to customize education is mentioned in this blog post entitled gaming.
Having toured many schools, I’ve found a growing issue amongst students coming from different parts of the country. Globalization has caused more diversity and something as simple as Spanish class is broken up to fit native spanish speakers, spanish taken up as a second language, spanish for those who grew up in a spanish speaking home but never educated in spanish… you get the idea. A possible motivation toward a monochromatic existence. As my post on ‘English Mania‘ indicated, there is a strong push to learn English around the world. We are also seeing unprecedented world wide level of languages extinction. The preservation of heritage goes hand in hand with the preservation of the planet.
I got a bit off topic but watch this to understand customization in the micro to macro level. Gladwell has an uncanny ability to link together the seemingly unrelated. He does in brilliantly and humorously here. Another must watch.
*edited by Zabeth Mersey