Malcolm Gladwell has written three books which are studies of human behavior. His book, Blink explained that the way we processing information makes a major difference in our lives. In Tipping Point he studied the way change happens in people and society. His next book, Outliers offered a unique perspective on what makes people successful. In this last book, he stated that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. That caused me to think about the different areas in which we have become experts in our lives.
When you take this number and think about it on more personal terms, each of us has easily spent over 10,000 hours in study, careers, supporting families, helping others, developing hobbies and, most importantly, creating our own unique perspectives in life. Sometimes the lenses we used to filter our life experiences were clear, giving us an accurate view of our environment and sometimes they were cloudy, effected by events that took our breath away with angst, fear or uncertainty.
Gladwell points out that circumstances surrounding our upbringing make a significant difference in how well we do in this world. I agree but would be quick to add that we all know people who, despite all odds, have become successful, happy, loving human beings. They may have dealt with challenges in life that seemed impossible to overcome, and yet they persevered. They may be a bit battered and weary but refused to give up or become negative or angry. These are the people that when given lemons in life they make lemonade. We know what causes these people to succeed in life while others struggle. It is their strength, courage and optimism that allows them to know that they can handle whatever life throws at them – and they do.
Information is a powerful thing. Once we realize that although our early upbringing, or other life events may have caused us to become ‘experts’ at seeing the glass as half empty we can do something about it. We can CHOOSE to REFUSE to use the excuses, ‘that’s the way I was raised,’ or ‘I can’t do anything about it because…’ and decide to live life fully rather than engage in a life of justifying why we are unhappy. Jim Carrey starred in a movie entitled, Yes Man in 2009 that exemplifies this point. It is worth watching.
We can become experts at living, loving and becoming the person we want to be or experts at regret, anger and fear. It’s a matter of our perspective and the amount of time we are willing to devote to the process. When we hear ourselves thinking negatively we need to consciously redirect our thinking. It takes practice, lots and lots of practice. We could say that we don’t have 10,000 hours of time to practice becoming an ‘expert’ at positive thinking. However, the amount of time left in our life will elapse regardless. The question is how we choose to spend it. What manifests in our lives develops from our thinking. Change our thinking and we change our lives.
Can you just imagine what our world would be like if each of us decided to become experts at making ourselves and our world a happier place? I’ll sign up how about you? Maybe you can pass this blog along to a friend and get them on board. The more people who are engage in the process the quicker the world will change. Let’s make it happen!
Have a great few days!