Free Essay on Elements of Success According to Malcolm Gladwell: Timing vs. Time

Published: 2019-11-28
Free Essay on Elements of Success According to Malcolm Gladwell: Timing vs. Time
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Goal Time management Career
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1319 words
11 min read

Success comes from set objectives and goals. I believe that walking without a destination is not practical at all to everybody. Success, therefore, is the set target that one has to work harder in achieving it. Margaret Atwood is a well-known novelist who once stated, "Reading and writing, just like everything else, improves with practice. She also added that if there are no young readers and writers, soon there will be older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy which many people believe goes hand in hand with literacy will be dead as well." This quote applies to some fieldworks which assign hand in hand that literacy is at the center of it all. If you don't practice at literacy, it will die out, but if creativity were allowed to grow, new writers would appear. Success, therefore, relies on practice and determination whereby for one to succeed there must be a start point from which a progressive handwork is used to achieve the set goals of success.

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From Malcolm Gladwell's writing and literature, success has analogies to be associated with. In the Outliers, a book by Gladwell he discusses the story of success. In his first chapter, "The Matthew Effect" Gladwell explains about the advantage of timing in success. He gives an example of when a person is born in comparison with other classmates in the elementary school hockey team whereby being the oldest in this grade can be helpful. He has quoted that, "players succeed because they perform well and succeed by their superior ability and nothing else matters." Gladwell claims that this is an advantage of lucky timing. Gladwell argues that people make the wrong definition of success when they attribute success with individual's qualities like talent, motivation, and genius. He quotes that, "success features are the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacy" which contributes to their success. From his argument, he offers the analogy that, "the tallest tree in the forest came from a good seed." From this analogy, the truth is that the success of the tree was just an opportunity as compared to other seeds. From the Gladwell phenomena of older players succeeding in comparison to the younger ones is an illustration that success is associated with the opportunity.

In the second chapter in the outliers, "The 10,000-hour rule" Gladwell explains success from another perspective of practicing. In this chapter, he has used two guys; Bill Gate and Joy who kept on practicing on Java coding. From this chapter Gladwell has used the illustration that practicing over time is what leads to success. Gladwell summed up the number of practices to 10,000 and thus the "10,000-hour rule". Another example that has been used by Gladwell is that of Mozart who he compares to his age mates who started practicing instrumental at the age of six or seven just like him. As they grew up their skills were different not because of natural skills but because of practicing. From this argument, Gladwell quotes that, "without the opportunity for intense, prolonged, and concentration in practice nobody can become successful.

In the chapter "The Mathew Effect," appearing in outliers; the story of success (2008), Malcolm Gladwell suggests that circumstances facilitate success. He provides his evidence by debunking the theory of mediocracy "success in hockey is based on individual merit" (2008, 17). From a case study by Roger Barnsley, Gladwell learns about how forty percent of hockey players are born within the first three months of the year, which is illogical. Barnsley also states that the kind of skewed age distribution shown can happen anywhere as long as three things are present; selection, streaming, and differentiated experience (2008, 25). Gladwell also utilizes the TIMMS, a globally standardized science, and math test, in his argument to prove further how skewed selection is in many sports.

According to my experience and observation of the arts, Gladwell's Ten-thousand hour rule is accurate because while in high school I noticed a girl who started with a basic pencil sketch to full-blown paintings. The success of this girl grew from a basic sketch to her success just because of practicing. As Gladwell claims, "without the opportunity for intense, prolonged and concentration in practice nobody can become successful" it's a reality regarding success. Success, therefore, can be associated with time and not timing. Regarding timing, one has to concentrate too much on all available opportunities as compared to "time" where after taking your time in doing something you have all the reasons to be successful.

My personal experience in success is that I have gotten better over the years with my fictional writing. I began writing since I twelve and have been given feedback that has allowed me to know what works for my style what doesn't. With this experience, I have more than hundred reasons to say that success depends on your practice and not opportunity. Regarding the possibilities, many of us are lucky in life to have the best opportunities but this doesn't guarantee everybody success. You can be given an opportunity but due to the failure of practice the opportunity dies, and so does the success.

As I joined my middle school, one of the few things prominent about my class was that there were quite a few artists in it. Not just only people who drew, but there were authors too. Within the first the first few weeks, I had gotten hooked on writing and didn't want to stop. For almost every moment of my free time I had, I would add on to my first fictional story. I sadly never finished it but back then it was because I came up with a different plot for another story. At this stage, I was very much at the stage where almost anything could influence me to write stories. Near the end of middle school, however, I had dropped out of writing almost completely, but yet again when I got to high school, creativity was all around me. Just one girl got me into writing again, and that was purely because she was an amazing artist. As Gladwell said, "achievement is talent plus preparation" (2008, 38). She only achieved much in praise but also in rewards.

When comparing timing versus time in success determination, time had a greater impact on my success of fictional writing. My writing skills consumed almost all my free time had, not just because I had nothing to do but the determination was driving me. In regards to timing when describing success in a lifetime experience, my success had no opportunity to hang on which could lead me to success. In my middle school when my classmates engaged in many activities that I could observe and see their good performance, I thought it was a season of success, so I decided to start fictional writing. My decision was abrupt, and I expected to shine in days. Due to my expectation that I did the right timing, I expected a successful outcome at the end of my middle school. In this case, the timing did not work for me until when I joined my high school where I took the time to practice the skills.

From the Gladwell's arguments on elements of success, the argument that prolonged practicing and determination is what brings the success of a person. Many episodes a person tries to hijack an opportunity but at long run much handwork is required for every success. From my experience, failure should not pin someone down. Any failure should be a stepping stone to the next level. According to Gladwell's text, many of his examples are people who have worked on their projects for many years. Taking time in something is what will determine your success, not about timing. I can use the Gladwell's arts to state that success comes from determination, handwork and time.


Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York: Little, Brown and Co.

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