“If you don’t stand for something…you’ll fall for anything” – Anonymous.
Are we really a result of our individual experiences? Are our actions really a creation of what we have built up on our insides?
Our experiences in life are a part of what we are but are they a part of who we are?
After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outlier, I got so scared – very scared – because the book had pointed to a very strong early childhood and privileged background as one of the backbones of success so I had wondered what fate had in store for those who found themselves on the other side of the coin. For days this thought troubles me, the thinking that my rough childhood may have denied me the express chance to become a real success, I looked at the other concept mentioned in the book, I looked at the ten hours rule of mastery, I looked at the interconnectivity between people and all that stuff and I tried to convince myself that there was still a chance for naturally made underdogs like me.
My answer and relief came when I picked up his next book; David and Goliath. A book which was a perfect reverse to Outliers. In fact, it looks like he wrote David and Goliath with the side effects of Outliers in mind.
In David and Goliath, he went on to explain some of the misconceptions and wrong notions we have built up in society concerning who is really priviledged and who isn’t. He touched on cases like dyslexia which society has seen as a defect and exposed how the supposed disability dyslexia allegedly brings with it really actually works as an advantage in some cases. Basically, he just tried to sell the idea that there really isn’t anything like a natural underdog. You either choose to be the top dog or be the underdog.
The problem is, asides these two options, there really isn’t anything else to choose from, and most times, people end up as the underdog because they lack the panache and discipline needed to become top dog. Very few people scale through that early difficult stage where the two “dog” options stare you in the face.
I have also come to the conclusion that there really isn’t anything like an underdog. If you work hard, your dog will rise to the top. It’s as simple as that. Nature doesn’t really favour anyone, you carve out your own favour, you build your own hope, you become gritty, and you add all the contours and curves you need to make sure your journey never runs out of fuel.
Thing is, very few people are willing to go through this stress, they have built up an illusion that life really has an easy path all because they are probably looking at how easy the other guy has got things going for him and they feel life is really easy, they fail to take cognizance of the reality that the other guy has really done his own bit behind the scenes.
For the guy who has a seamless marriage, chances are he didn’t grow up to see his parents experience one so he started at a very young and early age to begin to carve out the sort of family man he wished to be, he began to take care of trust issues very early, he began to develop a listening ear very early, none his present marriage life happened by chance. No! He’s enjoying his marriage because he’s done his homework and assignments well.
It’s the same for the guy who seems to have got a magic killer touch in business. No, what he really has is a vast wealth of experience upstairs. That guy has seen several businesses fall through and somehow has seen enough to know what constitutes the right business choices.
This also means that you have to be at the right place at the right time. If you calm down and listen to your head, most times the right place is being whispered to us but we rarely listen. Most successful guys take time out to listen. If you can take out 15 minutes of your day every day and just stare without thinking, you’d be amazed at how much you’ll hear, just sit and stare, don’t ponder, don’t talk, and don’t think about anything. You’d see that still voice talking to you.
So, work hard. Sir Alex Ferguson said success is all graft and nothing but graft. Don’t blame your misfortune on your experiences, because you can really carve out the right experiences. There really is no such thing as an underdog, all we have are yet-to-be unleashed top dogs. The only thing that matters is realy what you imagine and believe in. Do the math and get yourself unleashed!