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“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." – Roald Dahl

Archive for December, 2016

the story of success.

Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, talks about how to achieve success through real life compelling examples. A fantastic book, that “opened my eyes” and was most certainly “inspiring (and) revelatory” as it claims on the front cover. The key to success does not just consist of genius and natural talent. But Upbringing, Lucky Opportunities, Timing and 10,000 hours of practice in the profession. An interesting point that was brought up was, in middle class and wealthy families, children are more likely to speak out and be assertive. Gladwell explains that when a family took their child to the doctor, the child [Alex] was encouraged to “ask him anything you want. Don’t be shy. You can ask him anything” (Gladwell 121). The child was encouraged to speak up and assert his thoughts, regardless of the fact that the doctor was older and in a higher position.  Being firm and bold made a person prepared for the real world and successful, as proved in this video where they ask the American public what is paramount.

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand that until an overseas trip to meet my cousins in Michigan. My dad suggested, “We’ve been thinking to take a tour around the University of Michigan since your uncle used to work there and it could be a great insight to the future”. The tour went beautifully, I took every chance to marvel at the beautiful architecture and facilities. What happened after the tour is what really solidified my understanding that being meek was not an option to survive in the world. The tour guide gave each family a feedback sheet, all yellow and professional. He said, “Please submit the sheet to the front desk to help us improve our tours”. My dad finished filling it out and asked me to submit it. I wasn’t thrilled, to be honest, I was slightly mortifiedThe front desk consisted of three preoccupied managers, one speaking rapidly on the telephone and the other two tending to the large swamp of tall, loud visitors that surrounded the desk. I sheepishly glided toward the man on the phone and waited for him to finish his call but he had other plans. The second I stepped over, he flung his hand right in front of my face and gave me a disapproving glare.  I thought approaching another attendee after this would be overbearingly rude and so instead I looked around to find the submission box myself and dropped it in. My dad watched the exchange and when I approached him, he looked irate and disappointed. The conversation went a bit like this:

DAD: I saw you go up to the desk, why didn’t you ask them?

ME: All of them looked really busy.

DAD: You are still allowed to ask them, Khushi. Even if they are busy, that’s what the front desk is there for.

ME: The man was on the phone and there were too many people around the other ladies.

DAD: There were only a few people around the desk, you should be able to calmly wait and assert yourself to ask your question. Asking a genuine question is not considered rude if they are there to help you for that purpose. This is the sort of skill you need to have later on, if you don’t persist and be firm and bold then how are you going to get your point across in any situation?

And now I know that he’s right. There weren’t so many people around that desk. It just felt like that because all of them were much older and taller than I was. In the book, the same boy that is being taken to the doctor has learned entitlement and can talk to adults with equal ease as he would be talking to his parents. Being confident and determined is what mattered, because even if this was a query about where to hand in a paper, the habit would stick. As Gladwell says about the boy being taken to the doctor, “Alex has those skills because over the course of his young life, his mother and father have painstakingly taught them to him, nudging and prodding and encouraging and showing him the rules of the game” (123). To which, I am thankful to my own family for enlightening me to the rules of life.

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Bibliography:

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers. 1st ed. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2008. Print.