I have read a couple Malcolm Gladwell books and although he has been often under supreme scrutiny, I found the general ideas and concepts presented entrancingly insightful. Gladwell has taught me that a good first impression goes beyond the smile on someone’s face and that sometimes, it is actually better to trust your gut. It’s why I’ve become such a good test taker. I’m no disciple of his by any means, but he must be an incredibly interesting individual.
The other day in class, one of my professors briefly mentioned Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule” from his book Outliers, which states that in order to become an expert in a field you must spend about 10,000 hours doing it, equivalent to approximately 1.15 years or 20 hours per week for 10 years. This got me thinking in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, something along the lines of, “What have I inadvertently become an expert in?” Breathing, sleeping, and other generally normal functions aside, I have compiled a list of five things which, according to my professor and Mr. Gladwell, I have probably an expert in without realizing.
1) Playing with my hair.
This one might be a stretch, but it is legitimate. Ask any of my friends — one of my main nervous habits is messing with my hair, and this is documented as far back as third grade presentations. This will only get worse because I recently stopped biting my nails. I think it’s safe to say that no one is as good as nervously playing with their hair as I am.
There is no question that, after all the journal entries, essays, scribbled poems, and notes taken, I have become an expert in writing. Too bad most of those expert hours were spent while my brain was still developing, or I just may be a rhetorical genius by now.
From kindergarten through twelfth grade, I was in a choir. Through 5th grade the choirs only met once or twice per week, but then from 6th through 12th I imagine there were days that I spent four or five hours engaged in vocalizing. And this tally doesn’t even take into account the singing in the car, in the shower, the voice lessons, or the just-because-I-can singing. I believe it’s safe to say I am a Gladwell expert in singing.
Okay, yes, this is a bit of a general function, but when I say thinking, I mean the type of thinking that is completely absorbing, pulling you inside your own mind — the type of thinking people get lost in. Sometimes I think about serious matters, sometimes I am worrying, sometimes I can daydream for an hour about a clothespin, but it’s all thinking.
I smile at just about anything. I probably spend about 7 hours per day with a smile on my face, and I think it’s safe to say that the one subject area I have best obtained the level of Gladwell expert would be smiling. And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that! 🙂