We all know that success begins and ends with hard work. While in-house lawyers and law firm partners have an obligation to be more inclusive and build initiatives to address the needs of diverse attorneys, the diverse attorney must first provide the foundation of success: hard work. In his best-selling book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell argues that success has a predictable, identifiable set of markers. Rather than simply the product of individual intelligence, ambition and human potential, success is informed by culture, environment, communal ethos and shared vision. Individual intelligence and personal best efforts are often not enough. Gladwell’s recipe for success is brilliant in its simplicity.
Success means working harder than your peers. In what he calls the “10,000-hour rule,” Gladwell opines on how the Beatles and Bill Gates got from “high potential,” to good and then to great. Before the Beatles enjoyed breakout success, they reportedly played an arduous schedule of live performances in Hamburg, Germany. Performing seven days a week at points, the band played some 270 dates over a year and a half. So when their big break came, they had some 1,200 live performances under their belt. Similarly, a teenage Gates reportedly honed his early computer skills during the only time slot available at the computer lab near his parents’ home: 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.