My takeout after reading the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is that no one is born a genius. Hardwork & training , from an young age is the key factor , added with a dose of luck by being at the right place at the right time. The magic number is 10,000 hours of practice at whatever one is good at, which makes them an outlier. I liked that concept as now I have an excuse of not being at the right place, not being born in a different household, not being in very conducive environment to further my talents etc..Well, you get the gist …
Last night, I was watching Chopped, followed by American Idol as they cater to my interests in cooking and music. And, obviously I was judging the contestants and my thoughts were echoed by the Idol and Chopped judges. That’s when I had an epiphany and I knew what I was an outlier at. Eureka!! I was very good at Judging. What contributed to my success at judging? As the book says, it involved lot of hard work and training, right from when I was a kid. I started judging my peers and made friends with a selected few. Being a virgo helped me to be a good/bad critic, depending on the perspective.Born into a society where every Tom, Dick and Harry judges others irrespective of his stature and skills, my judging skills have been refined over the years. My ethnicity of being an Indian, a culture imbibed with competitiveness and loose talk has honed it even further. 10,000 hours…Pphhtt..I am sure I have put more than that in judging/misjudging people.
I participated in Galaata Idol last weekend. I should have known better. No, I didn’t make it to the next round, in case you are wondering. To my friends’ amusement, who had judged me right as not being a good participant, I decided to test my singing skills in front of a limited audience and three judges. The first judge was an upcoming singer (according to reliable sources) and so was enthusiastic about being a judge. It was obvious that she wanted to contribute for the betterment of the singing society in the bay area and so was very liberal with her comments. We can call her the Paula Abdul of Galaata Idol. The second judge was another lady who had an amused expression on her face which said, “Whatever!! You guys are not that great, but I will anyway give my comments. I am here just because these fans asked me to”. The third judge, apparently has Sangeetham Gnyanam , though not a great singer himself. ( Again, the reliable source at task). He had a bored expression of “Been there, done that. Lets get it over with and select a few.” As you can see, I was sitting in a corner, too busy judging the judges’ comments as well as the participants. Here are some snippets for you..”Shruti konjam missing here and there…otherwise its OK.”, “ You got all the notes right, but you emoted a bit too much” resulting in a puzzled expression from a participant and a firm head shake from me. For the question ” In all the years that you have judged so far, have you met the ideal Idol yet?” Pat came the reply from the Gnyani, “No.” As I said, me being the outlier judge and all, I was thinking, “That’s not the right answer. If some one is that good, why would he or she be participating in Galaata idol”. Following the book, if some one is very good, talented and had the right opportunities, he/she would have made it big in India by now.
Now, start thinking and find out your talent in which you have put atleast 10,000 hours…I am sure we can all be outliers…Just need to bring it out..:-)