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Randi Craigen - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” 

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, pg 42.

Question: In no more than 600 words, describe 3 practices you will do to become excellent at your business.

Crystal Hopson commented on 21-Apr-2018 03:20 PM
Outliers was indeed an outstanding read as it explains how it’s not the brightest who succeed but those who are given opportunities accompanied with the mind to seize those moments. The author also illustrated within several chapters the challenges of international pilots, the plight of Jewish lawyers, and the unexpected observations of birth dates of Canadian hockey players.
Clearly, the author’s intention was to help the reader understand what make people succeed. Overall, I enjoyed the content and it was well received.

Moreover, personally I found the content of the reading to be such a useful tool for the seminarian as we grasp the ongoing concept of social entrepreneurship, being the “light” in our ever-present lives and the continuance of pursuing opportunities with some form of impact. There is no doubt that the examples shed major inspiration on the importance of recognizing, seeking and responding towards doors of opportunity. In addition, the author made an important point that “People don’t rise from nothing. We owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others can’t” (Gladwell, 2008, pg 19).

In the meantime, with that being said, we should bear in mind the hardships and extraordinary moments experienced by the successful and the unsuccessful. The widely used notion of “pulling oneself by the bootstraps” does face some opposition especially if there aren’t cultural legacies to strive towards, accompanied by past laws and government policies that have historically bypassed several ethnic groups seek similar life-long goals. For example, if it wasn’t for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination in housing, employments and education would have remained an obstacle and people of color would have never been able to become “outliers”.

Furthermore, the author’s approach on the subject of success was fascinating. Gladwell provided charts of the ages, birth year, and the position of youth hockey players. Initially, my thought was “what is the relevance of the data?” Although the selection process was initiated through statistical analysis in the 1980s, the underlying question also asks “Do we prematurely write off people as failures?” Certainly the author took a psychological approach for his researched illustrations, and it became a national best seller.

Ultimately, there are three practices that I intend on pursuing in order to become excellent in my business:
-I will continue to research features of the nail industry by subscribing to several online magazines whose focus concentrates on the salon owner and the nail technician, as well as seek out any local nail/cosmetology expo/training show.
-Additionally, it will be my personal goal to seek out a business mentor who’s also in the nail industry, loves the Lord and is willing to share valuable insight on business growth and trends.
-And finally, as the business develops, I will consider becoming certified as a nail technician so that I can value to the business as well as be a “hands-on” owner and team member.

In summary, as we continue to explore the many routes of success, there are outliers out there and untapped resources waiting for leaders to make those connections. Henceforth, diligently putting the hours in, acknowledging cultural complexities, combined with God-fearing faith, and a touch of savvy should aid the outliers of the world in its search for success. It is my hope that the Spirit will place honorable people in my path and will give God all the glory as I strive to serve His people in the marketplace.

Olivia Litowski commented on 23-Apr-2018 11:44 AM
I would build mentoring relationships with people who are in the same field as I am. These relationships would help me gain knowledge, be accountable, and grow as an entrepreneur. It will give me connections to other people who can help in various ways in my business.
I would invest in time self-care so that I would not burn out.This time away, be it one hour a week, or two days a month, should be spent reading, meeting with a mentor, going to a conference, or retreating to something that refreshes and enriches my mind. If I am always mired in the day-to-day responsibilities of your business, I will not have time to set the vision for the future, to plan, to strategize and to think about growth. This time away is critical.
Finally, I would listen to the feedback from my patrons and staff. Feedback helps me know what people want/are looking for and how I should get there. Listening to my team helps me to know what they need and how they are doing. Keeping a finger on this helps me keep everything working well and in order so that I have a well-oiled and fully-functional team that enjoys working together.
Elizabeth Hartwig commented on 23-Apr-2018 12:49 PM
Three practices that I would do to become excellent at my business would have to be in areas that are not in my top five strengths. One particular area that I would need to practice actively would be to set boundaries between my home life and business/work life. I know I already struggle with setting aside one day a week to actually rest, but I think that in the face of a business that can likely take more out of me than I am willing to give, I would need to be careful with this. One way to practice this is to set aside a full day a week and not check e-mails or texts. Another way to actively practice this so I can become excellent is having a cut off time on working on my business, especially since it's online, it will be hard to walk away from it since it can be accessed from home.
Secondly, I would want to practice networking. This is something that will take lots of time and energy, but one way this can work and become excellent is by going to conferences, working on calling and reaching out to organizations and even school districts. This would mean having the emotional energy to reach out to so many people and following through with e-mails and follow-up calls.
Thirdly, the last area I would want to practice in to become excellent is in the area of budgeting. Both for my personal life and the life of the business. This is key to success, and if I am able to make a budget that works for my artistic train of thought, but still is able to sustain the organization, it will be a huge beneficial practice to become excellent in business.
Kazumasa Terashima commented on 23-Apr-2018 12:57 PM
Here are 3 practices I would like to do from now on to become excellent at my business:

1. To get up early in the morning.
Before reading Gladwell’s book, I didn’t know the Asian proverb, “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich” (Gladwell, 238 & 249), but in my country, Japan, there is a somewhat similar proverb Hayaoki wa sanmon no toku meaning, “If you rise early in the morning, you will get extra 3 cents.” I did acknowledge the benefit of this, but it hasn’t taken place in my life. I would like to keep the teaching of Gladwell’s book in my mind and put this into practice from now on.

2. To make use of my extraordinary opportunities.
After reading Gladwell’s book, I realized that my current situation itself is an extraordinary opportunity. I worked as a professional jazz trumpeter in Tokyo for 10 years and came to Chicago 12 years ago. I met the gospel here in Chicago, and God allowed me to pursue Master of Music at DePaul University (2008-2012) and now I am pursuing Master of Divinity at Moody. I believe God gave me these extraordinary opportunities I was/am being compelled to practice/study hard. I am very thankful to God for this because not everybody can be given such opportunities. I do not what kind occupation God prepared for me, but I am quite sure that it has a lot to do with my experience as a jazz trumpeter, my Master of Music degree, my study of theology at Moody, especially what I am learning in Professor Jenkins’ class. Even though I am relatively old as a graduate student, I would like to make use of my extraordinary opportunity by studying theology and practicing music hard so that I can prepare for the next stage of my life.

3. To make use of my cultural legacy, especially diligence.
Honestly speaking, before I read Gladwell’s book, I had thought that being an international student from Japan, an Asian country was disadvantage (my language proficiency, my status in U.S., etc.). But as I read this book, I came to realize that I have gotten a good cultural legacy as I grew up in Japan. It is true that for Japanese people, working diligently is very natural, ordinary things to do. I was disciplined by my parents and teachers. My elementary school, middle school, and high school had classes from Monday through Saturday. So it has been imprinted in me that it is natural to study hard and work hard. Although I tried to become “Americanized” after coming to U.S., and have lost some of my good traits as Japanese, I would like to reevaluate the benefit of my cultural legacy and make use of it to become excellent at my future business.
Anonymous commented on 23-Apr-2018 03:25 PM
The three practices for me personally can really be summed up in one. That one is leading one's self. I learned from reading Outliers, and other business leadership books that practices in and of themselves can become vices. They have the potential to be overemphasized or abused. However, in leading one's self first and foremost, that is the foundation for a business. It often, if not always, determines a business's success more than anything, in the long run. This is especially crucial for leading a church, non-profit, that will own for-profits. Many other practices are great and vital to running a business. I am not denying their importance. However, they are secondary to self-leadership.
Gift Mungullar commented on 23-Apr-2018 04:59 PM

Malcom Gladwell wrote the Outliers: The Story of Success book with a lot of stories connected to opportunities and principles that creates a rapport for success in life. There are so many people who lack the tenacity to yield their opportunities into success but on the other hand there is another group of people that yield tenacity in areas of life that are not the best opportunities to succeed. A common saying in the modern society is, “Work smart not hard.” But the question is, does this apply in every situation?

Gladwell in the Outliers discovered a another way to success. Using the right opportunity in the right environment at the right time, with quality seem to be a recipe to success. Everyone need to perfect their skills to maximize the outcome. Gladwell said, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good” (p. 42). I totally agree with him and I will invest into three special practices that will help me become better at my business skills.

A. I will be spending more time developing and perfecting my business ideas. Gladwell, in his analysis, concluded that those who do well or good at something become successful. This led him to come up with The 10, 000-Hour Rule. This means that the more time someone invest in an idea or process, the more they become good. Apart from being in the work or market place for my business, I will be investing additional 2 hours every night to think, process, and revaluate my performance in business. This practice will involve additional evaluators for feedback on my ideas.

B. Ideas are not tangible of course. Implementation is an independent process from thinking. After spending time in thinking and bringing ideas on paper, I will be deeply involved in the enactment and implementation of my ideas on the ground. I believe that this will enable me to know what works best and not. I have seen a few ideas who are good in theory but have no idea what it takes to practice an idea. Frustrations become the end result for idea dictators. I want to be involved in implementing my own ideas so that I know how to improve them if they are not working or fix the challenges if any.

C. Furthermore, I realize that we are in the world full of ideas. We usually joke that a child who only eats food from his mother’s house thinks that his mother is the best cook in the world until he or she eats somewhere else. I trust my ideas, for I spend a lot of time thinking about them but I do not trust that they are the best ideas always. I will be reading a lot of books both related to my business plans and not related in order to learn and expand new ideas for my business projects. Alongside reading will be a habit of leaning from others through workshops. I believe in cooperate effort for steady progress, therefore, I see studies and workshops as grand opportunities for cooperate powers. It is at my best interest to bring change and that change is even better and greater with knowledge and cooperation.
Drakia Wilkins commented on 23-Apr-2018 05:07 PM
In outliers, Malcom Gladwell is one of the first Christian business people of the modern day to explore success and what makes individuals successful. He argues that the brightest, Ivy League educated, and high IQ scoring individuals are not the only people who go on to be successful.
One practice that I will implement in my life as a business person is embracing who I am, what makes me unique, and positioning myself for success. He talks about Joe Flom being a Jew from New York that had a hard time landing a job as a lawyer. I, too, have faced these setbacks, but Gladwell insists that many of the most successful individuals have overcome these very obstacles.
My second practice is finding what he describes as "meaningful work" through meeting a need, preferably with a low barrier to entry. He shares the story of Louis and Regina Borgenicht, who started with nothing, yet built a successful apron manufacturing company. This is what I am attempting to do with my salon concept--meet a need and do it at a level of excellence.
Lastly, and Gladwell simply echoes the same words of my law professor from undergrad, "“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” Ever since my law professor told me about the work ethic he had o develop to become a successful lawyer, I have rarely slept past 4AM. In fact, growing up in blue-collar Detroit re-affirmed this, as I watched loved ones rise before the sun to make automobiles for America.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book Outliers. It has been my favorite reading from this semester.
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