They both serve as really great evidence that innate ability is NOT a very important factor in achieving success. When we realize that and take it to heart, we are encouraged to believe that we can indeed accomplish ANYTHING if we are willing to do the work involved, and that knowledge provides us with the motivation we need to pursue our goals with confidence and enthusiasm.
According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, a very strange coincidence was noticed in a hockey player roster – an unusually large percentage of the players on the team had birthdays in January. The remainder of the team had birthdays in February or March. He looked into it and discovered this strange birthday effect in other sports in other countries around the world. And he also found this effect is other disciplines as well – not just sports. The reason people born early in the year were better at sports, and music and chess and school and many other challenges in life was simple- every time you have a cut-off date to join a group when you are young, those born earlier in the year have a TIME advantage over those born later in the year.
So – in our ‘clever’ system designed to filter through millions of young children to select the best of the best of the best in terms of innate talent for our sports teams, dance competitions, debate teams, piano recitals, etc, what we actually end up doing is simply sorting our kids by month of birth, and singling out those born earlier in the calendar year who are up to a full year older and more mature than the other kids in that 12 month age bracket. When you are 8 years old, 10 months worth of age advantage is a full 10% of your life!
Why is Tiger Woods such an amazing golfer? It is no secret that he practiced like a maniac from a VERY early age. Tiger was playing golf on a regular basis when he was 2 years old. Because his father introduced him to golf at an extremely early age of 18 months and encouraged him to practice intensively, Woods had racked up at least 15 years of practice by the time he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, at age 18. Did you know that the Beatles used to play on stage in Hamburg strip clubs for 8 hours per day? By the time they became “over night sensations” in North America, then had already practiced more hours than most other bands did in their entire careers!