Control of attention is the ultimate individual power. People who can do that are not prisoners of the stimuli around them. They can choose from the patterns in the world and lengthen their time horizons. This individual power leads to others. It leads to self-control, the ability to formulate strategies in order to resist impulses. If forced to choose, we would all rather our children be poor with self-control than rich without it.
It leads to resilience, the ability to persevere with an idea even when all the influences in the world say it can’t be done. A common story among entrepreneurs is that people told them they were too stupid to do something, and they set out to prove the jerks wrong. [emphasis added]
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
David Brooks Reviews Outliers
Brooks disagrees with the notion that people are a result of the social forces around them, apparently a theme Gladwell pushes hard. I have not read the book, so I cannot say. Nonetheless, this part caught my eye (NYT):