Sunday, May 3, 2015

On the never-ending journey that leads to sound personal convictions

Malcolm Gladwell is often remembered for one key idea: the 10,000 hour rule (as mentioned in his 2008 non-fiction book Outliers).



Gladwell insists on the validity behind the idea, that to become an expert, in basically anything, one must (taking into account some "x" level of aptitude) put in 10,000 hours of practice...which roughly equals 10 years time. The interesting premise here is that, to become an expert, one does not necessarily have to be a genius.

In reading up on Gunner Myrdal, and Friedrich von Hayek, the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economic winners I have yet to profile, I realized: these men obviously exceeded the ten year quota required to excel in their field. Their professional careers in academia, politics, and as part of their country's intelligentsia community translated into far more than 10,000 hours of dedication to the economic research, application and theory-building needed for the breakthroughs that led to their nobel prize wins. Their work was a product for a lifetime, having built on other economist's own 10,000 hours.

The common (yet very extraordinary) denominator between these Nobel Prize winners (and their equally gifted contemporaries) is the clarity in their ideas, convictions and beliefs. 

The winners' prize lectures archived in the nobelprize.org website denote an acute understanding of the world, as if these winners knew exactly what their place on earth meant, and what their work needed to reflect, so as to be valued as truly model citizens. It's baffling to read such clear ideas and strong feelings. It's overwhelming at times, and very exciting to know what their findings meant to them, before their ideas and applications began to mean so much more to the societies, institutions, governments, economies and businesses that benefited indirectly and directly from the work derived therefrom. 

I sometimes mention what this blog is supposed to do, and what it's supposed to mean, but the reality is that both those things are in a constant state of flux. What does persist, though, is the never-ending search for a deeper truth; one related towards making sense of the way the world functions, and how to strive that same functioning towards continual improvement. 

What's beautiful about concentrating on how economists came about it, is that, economists don't just limit themselves to the established ideas in their field: economists pick and take what works in other realms (psychology, philosophy, sociology, mathematics, politics, etc...) and apply it to the problems that we faced yesterday, face today and will face tomorrow.

All this makes for sound convictions. Naturally.

This man clearly had strong convictions.