re: how david beats goliath

I read this interesting article over the weekend and for more than 24 hours now, I've been mulling it over.

It's by Malcolm Gladwell, who, back in 2005, was described by Time Magazine as "the U.S.' leading pop sociologist". He is the author of the bestselling books Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. It is because of these books that he became a household name in bellecroft...though I suspect it's only true for me and Clyde. However, Clyde is a self-declared fan. I, on the other hand, am undecided. :p

Nonetheless, issues of fanship notwithstanding, I hold within my heart a certain respect and fascination for the writings of Mr. Gladwell after having read some of his works and having found them to have been highly interesting, highly informative, and very compelling for me.

So when I began reading The New Yorker online and found him writing for the magazine, I was pleasantly surprised and happy. I was interested in reading his articles, knowing that there will be something interesting there just waiting around the corner.

He didn't prove me wrong. His latest article was entitled "How David Beats Goliath" and it was about how underdogs manage to win over top dogs.

So how DOES David beat Goliath? How do underdogs beat top dogs?

What I gathered from the article is that Davids beat Goliaths by substituting effort for ability. Now I realize that this sounds just about as flimsy as air, but remember that this is not the article itself, and I can't lay it out for you the way Mr. Gladwell did in his. I am merely taking the summary points and recalling them here.

Anyway, so Davids beat Goliaths by making the efforts needed to overcome Goliath's advantageous abilities. The article puts forth the notion that effort CAN trump ability. Your card of EFFORT CAN win over the other's card of ABILITY. In fact, one of the interesting things the article said that I like to keep returning to is the part where it says that - people think that the scarce resource is ability; and effort is the ubiquitous commodity (I'm paraphrasing here and adding subtle shades to the given idea so beware). However, it's actually the other way around. EFFORT is THE SCARCE RESOURCE; and it is actually ABILITY that is the COMMODITY.

At this point, I am reminded of what Stephen King was purported to have said once. I recall his words: Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Thus, Mr. Gladwell says that underdogs are people who HAVE to be willing to work or try harder than everybody else. They have to have ATTITUDE. They need to be relentless. He illustrates these key ingredients well with the specific anecdotes he employed in his article. It is for that that I will remember that girls' basketball team that he talked about who had players who were not really those one would call born-with-a-basketball, but who made it through their regional games and then to the national championship games by means of effort and attitude. I remember their mantra: One, two, three, ATTITUDE!!! And to that, I'd probably add: whee!!!!!!!!!! (Laughing out loud.)

These girls, who were mere twelve-year-olds, had to have attitude. Because they were not tall enough for basketball, they were not skilled enough in it, and they were not even going to become basketball players in their futures. They were a bunch of twelve-year-olds who were more likely to become marine biologists, not basketball players. But did that mean that they couldn't fight to win their games? However, in order for them to have a shot at winning, they needed a different strategy. And this strategy needed attitude.

Anyway, to explain more what Mr. Gladwell was talking about, these girls, who were, to any insider of the basketball game, inferior basketball players, managed to win their games by drawing hard on the full-court press. Instead of running to the other side of the court, and waiting there for their opponents to arrive and execute their well-prepared plan, they shadow each opponent and contest each inbound pass the full length of the court, and not even starting from the half of it onwards.

It actually payed off. They won games and won enough to get them to nationals. But more on that next time. Clyde is telling me that I am going to regret staying up til late and I agree with her. So ciao!

So I'll leave you with their cheer: one, two, three, ATTITUDE!!!Wheee!!!!!!!!

Have a nice day! :)


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