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Beating the Odds

How David Beats Goliath

“What’s the use of running if you are not on the right road?” — German proverb

Coaches preach that hard work can make all the difference.

But exactly how much of a difference is that?

Renowned author Malcolm Gladwell, in an article in New Yorker magazine, offers an answer: Whether it’s basketball for 12-year-old girls, or an insurgent campaign led by Lawrence of Arabia, or a new way of looking at computers, effort can actually help David beat Goliath.

Gladwell, author of “Outliers,” “The Tipping Point,” and “Blink,” says, “David can beat Goliath by substituting effort for ability—and substituting effort for ability turns out to be a winning formula for underdogs in all walks of life …”

But the success depends on not only on the AMOUNT of effort but the TYPE of effort.

“This is the second half of the insurgent’s creed,” Gladwell writes. “Insurgents work harder than Goliath. But their other advantage is that they will do what is ‘socially horrifying’— they will challenge the conventions about how battles are supposed to be fought …”

And so effort involves more than just sweat and  different tactics; it involves a willingness to be an outsider.

“The price that the outsider pays for being so heedless of custom is, of course, the disapproval of the insider,” Gladwell says.

How many people are willing to pay THAT price?


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