Posts Tagged ‘buffet’

Chicken Poop and Life Direction

March 16, 2010

I feel bad for kids today who come out of college without ever having had a job.  Those first jobs are a great way to experience the real world and help clarify your true talents.

I sold Christmas cards, peddled sweet corn out of a little trailer, cleaned fence rows, shoveled cow manure, bought and sold bicycles, waxed cars, and grew popcorn before I was 16 years old.  By the time I got to college I knew I wanted to use my brains more than my muscles.

Here are just a few jobs held by people who you may know for other vocations today:

  • As a teenager Mick Jagger worked as an ice cream salesman. After entering the London School of Economics, Jagger also worked as a porter at a mental hospital.
  • Need a rat catcher? Call Warren Beatty. He caught rodents to pay the bills before hitting it big.
  • Warren Buffett’s first job was at his grandfather’s grocery store, although he eventually worked his way up to a gig at J.C. Penney.
  • Before rising to prominence with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne worked in a slaughterhouse.
  • As a young man, Matthew McConaughey wanted to get away from Texas for a while, so he spent a year in Australia. To support himself, he took on a number of jobs, including one that involved shoveling chicken manure.
  • Jimmy Stewart was a man of many talents, from acting to being an Air Force general. As a young man, though, he had a job painting the lines on roads and also spent two summers as a magician’s assistant.
  • Bill Cosby played four sports in high school, but he still found time to sell produce, shine shoes, and work as a stock boy at a supermarket.
  • Tom Cruise’s family moved around a lot when he was young, but during one stint in Louisville he picked up some extra cash as a paperboy.
  • Brad Pitt did all sorts of things to earn a buck while he tried to start his acting career, including dressing as a giant chicken to promote an el Pollo Loco restaurant.

Most early jobs are not a mistake or misdirection – they are simply part of the clarification process.  But if a young person is “privileged” enough to not have to work they often and up with a fine education and a life that is off track.  Or they discover at age 45 that they are living someone else’s dream.

Help your kids this summer by allowing them to work for the money they want for movies, cars and goodies.  What they get may be far more important than a few dollars.

The 10,000-Hour Rule

October 12, 2009

The second chapter in the new book Outliers is titled The 10,000-Hour Rule.  Author Malcolm Gladwell shares his research that shows few people get to the top of their game without putting in at least 10,000 hours of preparation.

”The closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”

Whether it’s Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, the Beatles, Yo Yo Ma, Mozart, or Warren Buffet, it appears no one gets to the top without putting in their 10,000 hours.  If you put in 40 hours a week, that’s 5 years.  If you only find 20 hours a week to work on your area of excellence it will take 10 years.  If you’re just squeaking out 5 hours a week – it’s going to take 40 years.  Talent will only take you so far; it’s the hours of work that will separate you from the pack.

The problem is that we have become an “instant” society.  We have been spoiled with email, cell phones and microwaves – and become impatient with the nanosecond required to load a new web page.  College graduates expect the $100,000 job and the $500,000 house instantly.  Talented musicians and athletes expect fame and fortune long before investing 10,000 hours in practice.  Writers give up after writing their great novel in a weekend and after a month of searching for a publisher.  Christians are often confident their idea came from God, thus assuming success will be easy and instantaneous.

So where have you put in your 10,000 hours?  If you are in a job that you hate, have you been investing hours in an area of excellence that will give you a new opportunity?  Or do you just waste the hours away from work, hoping  for something more fulfilling to appear?  If you are a writer, a musician, a landscape designer, a web designer or a husband, have you put in your 10,000 hours of concentrated preparation to be great in that area? 

I trust this is an encouraging bit of information.  You don’t have to regret having average talent, or not having the highest IQ, or being born into the wrong family.  Just find your area of excellence and put in 10,000 hours of preparation.  You’ll bypass those with more “advantages” and find success that others only dream of.