Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Simply dying of old age in ROSETO (Pennsylvania): Health is rooted in community life-style?

In the 1950’s, as the US citizens were dying like flies from heart attacks, blood pressure…and cancer way before reaching 50 of age, a rumor spread in the medical community that people in the town of Roseto(Pennsylvania) were simply dying of old age, and even males didn’t suffer any major heart problems before the age of 65.

A team of physicians from Oklahoma decided to investigate this health mystery: They converged for two summers and in extended holidays to Roseto, and set their headquarter in the municipal main room, along with all their medical testing equipments…

The first factor that comes to mind is: “Hum…Most probably it is the diet custom of this “healthy” community? Maybe this unorthodox community is still attached to the diet of their original town of Roseto in Italy?”  This Italian community of 1,200 inhabitants, with many industries, have immigrated less than a century ago, with successive waves, joining their relatives in the town of Bangor (Pennsylvania) where they exploited and worked in the nearby quarry, as they did in Italy. 

After a thorough blood and other physical tests and inquiry of most of the community members, the team of doctors discovered that the people had reverted to the “normal” US diet habits.  Actually, their energy was mostly generated from the over 40% in fat in their metabolic system.  Worse, they smoked and drank as the good normal Americans!

The next question was: “Hum…may be it is in the gene…let us go to Italy and bring samples…”  The medical team from Oklahoma visited a few other Italian communities in the USA, originating from Roseto (Italy).  Surprise.  The other Italian communities death trends were as bad as the average US communities.

The third factor to investigate was: “Hum…maybe it is the environment around Roseto that aiding this community into exacerbating longevity trend…?”  The medical team investigated the neighboring communities around Roseto, like Bangor and the vicinities.  Total failure. The surrounding communities were dying like flies before the age of 55.

The medical team had to fall back and study the community life-style.  This community had 22 public organizations, they spent an enormous amount of time chatting with community members they met on the streets, they contributed in gardening the neighborhood lots, in engaging into community cooking, and throwing plenty of celebration occasions to getting together.

Worse, the well-to-do families were prohibited to flaunt their wealth status, and they had to contribute more to the community facilities and standard of living.  There was no joblessness, and available work were found for the so many able bodies…

Health must be rooted in community life-style, aiding one another, establishing community facilities, and keeping anxiety, depression, and the concept of “you are on your own” at bay…

Yes, it takes a community to caring for children, for the aged, for the handicapped, for the needy…

Note:  Post inspired by a chapter in “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell

Mark these 10,000 hours of practice-sessions: And become a top expert in anything you wish to be

Apparently, up till late 1990’s, mankind brain required about 10,000 hours of practice-sessions in any skills or field of work before the person become top in his passion.

There are million upon million of geniuses, but a few of them are known to the general public.

Townspeople know the “geniuses” among them, but to be recognized worldwide, and acquire the standing and stature of a top genius in any field, like music, sport, computer programming, dancing, singing, architecture, fashion designer…you have got to accumulate around the 10,000 hours in practice sessions before you reach the age of 20 or so…

Thus, the main hurdle is to overcome 3 concurrent requirements, meaning if one is not satisfied then you will not reach the top in your field:

First requirement: you must have a great passion for something, and be willing to consistently practice for many years, the hard way.

Second, the community and family support must be available to allow you the necessary investment in time and money in practice sessions, such as acquiring additional intelligent social skills and negotiating abilities…

Third, you must be born within short-span particular years, and living in the proper environment:  The external factors are many and must converge to provide the extra nudge and facilities… For examples:

Example One.   What these people share: Bill Gates, Bill Joy (Sun Microsystem and creator of JAVA language), Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt (Novel and Google), Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla, Andy Bechtolshein…?

These people are top in the computer and communication business and were extremely lucky to live in an environment and were born at the proper period to put in the 10,000 hours in practice, learning programming and the computer and communication technologies.

These people were born between 1954 and 1956, and as the Time-Sharing facility on main frame computers introduced the teletype in 1965,  they could bypass the time-consuming card-punching technology which would have been a major handicap into accumulating the 10,000 hours in practice.

These people enjoyed the facility of living at walking distance to major universities that could afford to purchase top of the art computer systems and powers and make it available 24 hours a day.  Many enjoyed the luck of attending private junior and high schools that acquired sophisticated computers for the period.

These people who were the best computer programmers and were urgently needed by the companies around the communities, happened to be around as personal computer hit the market in 1975 and they could use the instructions to building their own prototype and own computer language….These lucky geniuses didn’t have to finish university studies, and they could tap on ready technology investment money funds to start their own computer and communication companies…

Example two.  The Beatles have accumulated the 10,000 hours, for most its band members, before conquering the USA by storm in 1964.  They were very lucky to be invited to play and sing in Hamburg between 1960 till late 1962:  They played 8 hours a day, 7 days a week in Bruno’s strip joint that was opened 24 hours. Every time they returned to England from their extended gig in Hamburg, they put in just a couple of hours and had to make up for lost ground on their return to Hamburg and perfect their stage presence and their coordination as a group.

Example three.  Mozart was lucky to have a father musician who allowed his son to put in 10,000 hours of practice sessions, composing concertos piano and orchestra since the age of six.  As Mozart reached about 23 of age, he could produce the master-works N9, K291…Prior to this age, Mozart was composing mainly arrangement works, corrected by his father.

I don’t think that mother is “bright” (this assessment is not based on any IQ tests), but she learned to be a great seamster (cutting patrons and sewing dresses) when a child and kept doing this for many years and purchasing clothing magazine for her business, and she is an excellent cook.  Certainly she accumulated the 10,000 hours, but not before reaching 20.  A few people might consider mother as a case of “mild autism syndrome“?

I contend that those born in the late 1990’s, with the advent of Internet, fast audio-visual communication, and social platform available to kids to use and apply, the new kids will be enjoying an upgraded qualitative brain connectivity that will reduce the number of total practice sessions, in fields related to audio-visual, and also permit fast accumulation of training hours within less than 7 years.

In any case, pass the score of 130 in IQ test, your analytical abilities are good enough to going into graduate studies and getting a Nobel Prize, with consistent hard work and accumulating this 10,000 hours of practice.

It appears that doing well in Math is related to attitude:  The more persistent and resolved to solve a problem, the longer your engaged attitude, the better you are in math.  People used to work in rice fields that require constant and hard effort all year round do better in math than other people…

Note 1: I recall that I knew not a single word of French at the age of 12, before I joined a private French school.  My aunt, living with us, started to buy me exciting French books, and I started to read French books for at least 6 hours a day, seven days a week. Within a year, I wrote far better than any French-born students in my class, and the teachers would not believe that the essays were mine.

Mind you, I didn’t write anything beside my homework, or read aloud, or spoke fluently French: I just wrote better.

Another proof that it is not feasible to write well before you make the routine of reading a lot, and consistently.  Reading is necessary for sound verbal delivery, but it is not sufficient: Verbal intelligence is related to another part of the brain and requires other set of learning and practice.  I do lack verbal intelligence.

Note 2: This post was inspired from a chapter of “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.




December 2022

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