The Secret to an Exceptional Life

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers suggests context and hard work are more critical than raw talent when it comes to achievement. He offers Christopher Langan as an example of how the range of opportunities presented to us can made a major difference as to whether we gain traction in life.

Einstein's IQ was 150. Langan’s IQ was a blistering 195. But Langan spent his days working on a horse farm in rural Missouri. Why didn’t he rise to exceptional achievement? According to Gladwell, there was no one in Langan's life to encourage and help him develop his exceptional gifts. He grew up in a small town in Montana with an abusive stepfather in abject poverty.

Gladwell writes, "He had to make his way alone and no one--not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses--ever makes it alone."

You didn’t rise alone. Is there someone to whom you should show gratitude? Someone who poured? themselves into making you who you are? Is there someone who you could cultivate, radically altering the kind of person they become?

Stephen Goforth