"Outliers" comments on Reddit

Just want to copy/paste a snippet of good discussion on Reddit about the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Question:

These things are interesting, including other types of "success" books like "Good to Great", but they all seem to fail in one respect. They only look at one side of the coin. Even the most statistically rigorous, multivariate analyses seem to only look at variables that are necessary, but not sufficient. Sure, all of the analyzed successes have these similar overlapping properties, but that doesn't make them useful properties. For example, they also all breathe, eat, and take a shit every day.

It's good when they go a step further and show a direct causal link from the property to the outcome, but even that isn't enough. How many people have done all of these things and still failed? These books imply that if you do these things then you'll be more successful. All lottery winners have the necessary property that they bought lottery tickets, and there is a direct causal link, but that doesn't make buying a lottery ticket a good plan to get rich.

How much of these successes are just random chance on top of those factors?

The Answer:

You'll never know. If you are trying to get hard data like that, you are going about it completely the wrong way. The causal links can never be proven, especially not when it comes to intentionality as opposed to the workings of a computer program, which is deterministic by definition.

Instead think about what brings you joy, and do that. It's that simple and you can't go wrong with that. The problem is that often it takes some courage to do what brings you joy rather than what brings you steady money. Or, another problem could be that you may not know what brings you joy. All this can be figured out though.

Every second you spend in joy and contentment is success. Whether or not you become famous or make big bucks or both is secondary. Live fully and face all the fears you have, starting with the scariest first. Forget about success and just do what is in front of you to do, and success will find you. You don't have to go looking for it.

What they don't tell you is that NONE of the successful people gave a damn about success. You think Tiger Woods would stop playing golf if he was told he could only be number 2 max? The successful people LOVE what they do and would do it no matter what. The Beatles would have played no matter what.

So making the right choice is easy -- ignore success and do what you love.

Every second you spend in joy and contentment is success - Wow, never thought about it that way..