What Makes Kids Successful? The Story of Outliers
What Makes Kids Successful? The Story of Outliers
I’ve been reading this fascinating book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell where he’s done research and compiled his findings telling the story of what makes people mega successful.
He talks about the inputs and the reasons why some people achieve mega-success and why others don’t. These things inlcude:
– concerted effort vs. passiveness
– wealthy vs. poor
– standing up for self
As you might suspect there are many individual factors which determines whether someone’s successful or not as well as sub factors within those which determine the level of success whether you’re mega-successful, very successful or moderately successful.
One of the biggest things Gladwell provides evidence for is that the environment and the culture you grow up in has a huge effect on both your childhood and adult success.
— faith and belief in your own abilities to achieve (this is instilled and reinforced by your parents and other important people in your life early on in your development)
— the cultural heritage and legacy of your ancestry
— opportunity – giving your child opportunities at the youngest age in activities they show skill or interest in (do you have the opportunities and the timing in the world’s history which make capitalizing on those opportunities hugely profitable)
One of the biggest things I want you to realize because this blog is about parents is how great of an impact and influence you have on your child’s “success psyche”.
You are going to be a big driver of the personality, attitudes, willpower, determination and persistence of your child.
As well you will be a big factor in what level of confidence, faith and belief they have in themselves to achieve.
1. Are you constantly encouraging them to do the best they can and even when they make mistakes to learn from them?
2. Or are you constantly disparaging them when they make mistakes and calling them out?
No man is an island and what Malcolm Gladwell proved is that your parenting and the patronage of your ancestry make a huge difference in how you view the world and the successional you have.
Here’s a specific example.
One of the biggest things Gladwell found was a peculiarity when he was doing some research into youth Canadian hockey leagues.
Someone had brought some interesting research to his attention about how most of the players on the super elite Canadian hockey league teams all had a similar range of birthdates. And I’m not talking about being born in the same calendar year because that’s a given.
The league you play in is broken up by age which is believed to even out the odds.
What he found to be peculiar was the fact that most of the superstar players were born in the months of January through March.
The cut off date for Canadian hockey league play is January 1.
In looking at the rosters he found more players were born in January than any other month and by an overwhelming margin. The second winning month was February and the third winning month was March.
The reason for this is because of differences in development. The only reason these players were better than their peers is because they were born earlier in the year and were therefore bigger, faster, stronger and more coordinated than the other babies who were born 6, 8, 9 or even 11 months after them.
Those babies born earlier in the year simply had more time to develop and because of this the coaches and administrators of the league erroneously believed they had more natural talent and so were therefore segregated into better coaching leagues and even elite All-Star teams.
So it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It wasn’t that those babies born earlier in the year had any more innate and natural talent. It was just they had a physical advantage by being a few months older.
These extra months of development make a huge difference early on in life and are only really ever evened out once kids reach the age of 10.
Denmark is the only country in the industrial world which doesn’t segregate students based on achievement until after the age of 10.
In America, I believe the cut off date for entering into a grade of school is August 1. So based on what you now know the ideal date for your child to be born is August 1. Anything close after is also good.
Because your child will be months ahead in the development of those babies born in June and July and has a far better chance of being fast tracked into honors classes and getting better teaching from being singled out for ‘gifted programs’.
So I would advise (and I’ll be doing this with my children) that if you have a child born in the summer months or even between January and May to hold him back a year so they can enjoy the benefits of this added development time.
I realize this may be controversial but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
In part two of this article on outliers and what factors make your kids successful I’ll be talking about why Asians are believed to be naturally better in math and what kind of parenting style yields the best results in your kids.
Since this could be a controversial article definitely leave me your comments with your thoughts on this topic. I’ll be very interested to hear what you have to say which adds to all of our body of knowledge.