Adversity, often in early life helps you prepare for success later, according to Gladwell. There’s the nub of something in there – but what about people who come from adversity and are not successes? But I can see that learning to get around problems, or building yourself up from nothing is often more effective training than coming from privilege. But what about Nat Rosthchild? And why are most of the millionaires of my age that I have met people who come from wealthy families?
There’s some useful fuel in Fortune, looking at how people with real talent use a process of deliberate practice to hone their skills (think Jonny Wilkinson kicking at the posts hundreds of times a day). There is linked commentary from Gladwell.
What is the business equivalent of deliberate practice? Especially in management consultancy? I guess in my case it would be to figure out the stuff I’m bad at (OLS would say “getting on the phone”) and practise it. But what about communications, about intellectual thinking? One to let the subconscious think through.
Which leads me to an article in New Scientist that Caroline picked up on: the brain has a “default mode” when you are daydreaming that switches off when you need specific focus. This planning, strategising and reflection mode must be very important for the brain given the amount of time it spends doing it. Caroline sees it as explaining her often trouble-shooting dreams and I see it as explaining why I can leave stuff to my subconscious to sort out.