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Bestselling Author Malcolm Gladwell: “There is No Way Around Hard Work”

We clearly live in an era when life - at least for those of us who live in the developed world - couldn’t be any easier. For example, technological evolution has made it such that very little physical effort is required any longer to do many jobs. While that’s pretty nifty for most of us, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell wants you to know that even if the way in which specifics tasks are done is easier and requires less physical effort, one thing will never change: the substantial amount of work ultimately required to realize genuine success.


“There is no way around hard work,” Gladwell recently told CNBC. “There are never any shortcuts, and anyone who tells you there’s a shortcut is blowing smoke.”

Gladwell’s first life lesson in this regard came while plugging away, if you can call it that, at his first job, working for a magazine in Indiana. After just two months on the job, Gladwell was fired because he couldn’t motivate himself to get out of bed on time each day.

“I was 20 years old and I couldn’t wake up before 11 o’clock in the morning,” he says.

Like many other young adults who struggle at first with responsibility, Gladwell quickly realized that if he was really going to make something of himself, he would have to change his ways.

“I have learned many things subsequently, but you know, one of them is the importance of discipline,” he says.

Gladwell writes in his book Outliers: The Story of Success that 10,000 hours of hard work must be invested in order that someone may actually perfect a skill to a level that opens the door to success. As noted in the CNBC piece, Gladwell claims Bill Gates became such a success as a software giant because he had been coding since he as a small boy, and that The Beatles’ path to superstardom was paved in no small way by the eight-hour gigs they played. It is Gladwell’s contention that keeping oneself under a pressure cooker in this fashion is ultimately how success is achieved.

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large