Thomas Sowell in his article in Townhall, linked below, highlights Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Outliers”. Sowell states Gladwell makes the case for the importatnt role that "special circumstances" play in creating “Outliers” or special achievers. To the dimmishment of personal merit, or I would say personal achievement. In fact the whole idea seems to diminish the role of personal achievement.
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The theme running through this book is that spectacular individual achievements-- outliers-- are not simply a matter of personal merit but come out of a background of special circumstances that enable outstanding individual ability to lead to performances far beyond the norm.
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As with the case of the Hockey players Mr. Sowell highlighted, the cut off date plays a definite role both in the physical and the mental makeup of the players. This I would counter is just another of the factors that separate the wheat from the chaff. Any time averages are used, by definition, some are more susceptible to success or failure than others. Laws or in this case restrictions in competition based upon age require these types of things shortcomings if you will.
The best defense against the reality of that is to educate yourself to that reality. To accept it and use it as a tool. If you were born in November and find yourself on the short end of the stick, pun intended, you can use that as a tool and not a crutch. I would like for example next to see how some "November Wonder" overcame that shortcoming to rise to the top. I wonder if that hockey player would think it would have been useful to know his shortcoming ahead of time? Perhaps it would of depended upon the how the player personaly viewed that fact. Whether they viewed it as an excuse (shortcoming) or as an edge (oportunity). Talk to any coach with a team that is considered to be an underdog. They will tell you which "vision" is acceptable to them in their players no matter which Month they were born in.
When I stop to think and study why some people are successful, I find myself perhaps trying to find reason why in fact I am not. In other words excuses for myself. For example, if I was a failed Hockey player who was born in November, Gladwell’s book would appeal to me. I wonder why no one writes a book about why all the other Hockey players, that were also born in January didn’t make the all star team. Even those with good genetic make up.
I know it’s just common sense that they were not good enough due to any number of reasons. To know one of the reason we succeed (out date of birth) can be useful if used judicially along with all the other factors. Also when publicized as with Gladwell’s book, the decision makers in this case coaches and anyone picking players will do well to head the message. And the sub message. Go ahead and pick the Jan. players because they are bigger, but inspire the November players with the truth of how they will soon catch up to the Jan. stick handlers. In other words give them the tools to cut down the mental advantage of the older players.
The Coaches in this example need to be the facilitators of the players by being the conduit of all the true information available to help the players to perform to their best. That is how I see the government’s role. Not to bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator but to let everyone have access to the tools they need to be the best they can be.
Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative.