Gladwell's 10,000-hour experience law
What factors influence when predicting if a person will be successful?
This is a complex question that many of us have asked ourselves. exist multiple causes that can play in our favor or against us in determining if, throughout our lives, we can achieve certain economic and employment goals.
From socioeconomic origin to luck, going through a factor that many times we do not take into account: l to experience , especially that which we have been able to acquire during our childhood.
Socioeconomic origin is an important factor
You do not have to be very smart to realize that one of the important factors is the socioeconomic origin If you were born in a rich family, you will have greater possibilities of receiving a better training, you will be able to devote more time to study, you will have the economic mattress and family contacts, and so on.
However, if you come from a humble family, you have it a bit (or rather) more difficult in life: you will probably receive a not so good formal education, maybe you will have to start working ahead of time to contribute to the family economy (may affect the hours you spend studying), and you may not be able to afford higher education, although you lack intellectual capacity, merit and motivation.
The social elevator has been damaged for decades, and there are no stairs
All this that I have just explained is not a topic: several studies carried out in Spain and published by the newspaper El País show that the 'Social elevator' It has been damaged since the sixties. The social elevator it is the mechanism through which, in a society, the humble can climb and see their personal economic reality substantially improved thanks to their merits and effort .
This meritocratic principle seems to be in question when we analyze the data. that point to that, If you were born poor, you are much more likely to remain poor in adulthood . If you were born rich, very badly you have to go to not continue in a privileged position.
The law of the 10,000 hours of Malcolm Gladwell
Fortunately, There are other factors that come into play when deciding if we can succeed and develop our potential. In this case I wanted to focus on a factor that perhaps is not taken into account: the experiences that we acquire during our childhood.
The reflections that follow are part of a conference of the Catalan economist Xavier Sala Martín , professor of the University of Columbia, and who reveal to us the decisive importance of this vital stage at the time of forging certain capacities and abilities that allow us greater probabilities of labor success in the adulthood.
Children born in the first half of the year have an advantage
Let's start by thinking of a curious fact. A spectacularly strong trend with no apparent reason is that, in most elite sports teams, 75% of its players were born in the first half of the year . And, in fact, there is a small amount of high level athletes who were born in the month of December. This data can be verified by looking at elite professional teams of any sport: you will notice that this trend is a curious and disturbing constant.
If 50% of the world's people were born in the first half of the year, and the other 50% in the second half, How is it explained that elite athletes were born mostly in the first months of the year?
Malcolm Gladwell, the journalist who studied this curious phenomenon
An American journalist called Malcolm Gladwell He was among the first to realize this question of the athletes and the months of birth. Unable to explain this phenomenon, investigated different sociological studies .
Finally he came to a conclusion, which had nothing to do with paranormal and astrological questions. The explanation was very simple: to be sports professionals, children must have gone through the base categories, where they train and play games. What happens is that these base categories are divided by years. When children start with 7 or 8 years old, they play with those of their same year. Those that were born in 1993 with those of 1993, those of 1994 with those of 1994, and so on.
This means that children who were born in January 1993 and those who were born in December 1993 play on the same team. At those ages, a difference of one year has a great incidence: those of January are taller, stronger, more agile, smarter ... and the coaches, who in addition to training also want to win the games, end up granting more minutes of play and responsibilities to the children of January. They are the ones who play, not only more minutes, but those who shoot the penalties, those who play the decisive minutes ... and therefore acquire more experience .
The enormous importance of the experience we acquired (or not) during childhood
This dynamic is accentuated and consolidated as they advance in the base categories: the following year, the children of January are still a year older and also have more experience. With each passing year, the schism of experience among children at the beginning of the year and children at the end of the year is greater.
Once the children have grown, for example when they are 20 years old, the physical differences between them have disappeared. What remains is a great difference in the experience of the players: the children of January have had much more possibilities to train and play more minutes, therefore they are better players (with meritorious exceptions, of course). In the end, this experience of years is a key factor in predicting whether one will be able to reach the elite, or not .
To succeed in something, dedicate 10,000 hours
Malcolm Gladwell, after reflecting on the reason why elite athletes are the most experienced, formulates a theory: To be very good at something, we must devote at least 10,000 hours . It is necessary to train 10,000 hours to be really good at something and be able to stand out from the others, whether programming websites, playing basketball, playing an instrument ...
This is a moral applicable to any area of working life. But other reflections fit. For example, it occurs to me to throw a question on the air: Are the sports teams of the children's categories too focused on the result? Because we may well think that a Children in December are suffering from structural discrimination It affects your potential to develop your skills.
Educational implications: the Pygmalion effect in children
In fact, the sports field can be just a reflection of an educational model that makes similar mistakes . When we assess children based on rigid parameters, children in December are more likely to score worse.
This should not be worrisome, since a greater effort and the passage of time should be leveling these small differences between students at the beginning of the year, and those at the end. However the Pygmalion Effect It explains that adults deposit in children certain wishes and desires that can help the child to conform to a healthy self-concept and learn to move towards certain goals and challenges that will allow him to mature. Of course, this can also happen in the opposite direction: teachers who can negatively influence the self-concept of many "Children of December" .I invite you to know more about the Pygmalion Effect: "The Pygmalion Effect: how children end up being the longings and fears of their parents"