Teens today could improve upon so much to get a better chance to become more successful in life. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that a child’s performance level for anything has to do with their culture. He says that people of Asian descent will focus more and try harder when they do not understand something. He also talks about how constantly practicing can make you master a skill. If teens can use ideas that Gladwell talks about they can become more successful.
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One idea is teens can work on their social skills and eventually their social skills will be able to open up opportunities for them. A person could be the smartest person in the world, but if they had no social skills, it would not matter how smart they were because they would not be able to communicate their ideas. One moment that Gladwell shows a moment in which social skills matter are in the chapter “ The Trouble with Geniuses”. Chris Langan gets kicked out of two colleges because he couldn’t properly communicate with the dean of students what the problem was he was facing.
While he was at Reed College in Oregon his financial aid wasn’t filled out and sent to Reed, so he had gone to the office and didn’t even try to argue about it, “ They simply didn’t care. They didn’t give a shit about their students” (Gladwell 93). Langan made no attempt to talk to the person in the office he just accepted the defeat and moved on. If it had been any other person they would’ve tried to get the date of which the financial aid form had to be turned in. Defeat would’ve not been accepted so quickly because majority of people have good enough social skills to do this.
Langan didn’t have the social skills to even argue with the office. As smart as Langan was he really wasn’t he because he couldn’t communicate and if he couldn’t communicate how are people even going to know that he really is a genius. Literally someone could be extremely stupid but have amazing social skills and could make it further because they can communicate well. Another idea that teens can use from Outliers is to focus and not give up. Gladwell proves how focusing can make a difference when it comes to math test. In ” Rice Paddies and Math Tests” Gladwell proves how people of Asian descent can focus more because it’s in their culture.
Every 4 years a test is given to elementary and middle school students worldwide called the TIMSS. The TIMSS test the students over math and science, but at the beginning the student has to fill out a questionnaire that is 120 questions long. It turns out majority of students leave about 15 to 20 questions blank. Gladwell explains, “ In other words, countries whose students are willing to concentrate and sit still long enough and focus on answering every single question in an endless questionnaire are the same countries whose students do the best job of solving math problems” (Gladwell 247-248).
If teens could also apply the same focus on everything, which Asians can on math, then they could make further into their education. Then after being educated and all that good stuff can use their amazing focus to get a job that they could get promoted in. After getting that job and using the focus they can get promoted to a position of authority and become more successful. The last idea that teens could use is to practice a skill that they love and don’t leave it. If a teen constantly practices something they love they’ll become good at it. Eventually good will become great and great will become amazing and so on.
At some point they’ll be an expert and if you’re an expert at it then you can get a job for it. Gladwell shows this happening in the chapter “ The 10, 000-Hour Rule” following Bill Joy into college up until he cofounded the Silicon Valley firm Sun Microsystems. Joy had been programming the moment he had seen the computer center at the University of Michigan. “ It was a wide-open field in which all participants were judged solely on their talent and their accomplishments” (Gladwell 37). Which really meant if you have been practicing at it and were getting good then people could make a living off of it.
The field of programming was based on skill and only skill, it didn’t require someone to be rich nor have any sorts of connections. Practice made perfect for Joy, and it still does. If someone is skilled enough people will want to hire them, or better yet they will open up their own business. Basically what I’m trying to say is if someone has the skill and the hours and experience to prove it they could go far in life. Teens could improve upon so much to get a better chance at becoming more successful in life. Teens really could improve here and there and it would give them a better chance.
Personally I don’t think anything that I listed was a really major change; some of it might be difficult, but not impossible. Is it too much to ask for social skills to be worked on in school, and if it is it wouldn’t be very difficult for a teen’s social ability to become strong. And hey maybe if teens could communicate it could get rid of bullying, just a thought. Now the focusing could be hard for some, but if their mind was set to it the focus level could be reached. Start with baby steps little test all leading to a bigger one that will require the combined focus of the teen.
If that teen saw the results of focusing it could be a habit that sticks. The practice makes perfect is probably the most difficult one of the ideas, why? Because not everything can be practiced around the house like playing catch or kicking the soccer ball or playing video games, yes video games there are people who make a living off gaming. Most of it would require opportunity, for example a hockey living by an ice rink. My point being none of this is impossible and some of it could be fairly easy to achieve, some of it would just require opportunity.