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Dynamic Chiropractic – March 26, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 07

What It Takes to Become a Master, Part 2

By Arlan Fuhr, DC

You might remember that in my last column [Feb. 12 DC], I spoke about the importance of becoming a master. I gave the example of a glass cutter at the Waterford factory in Ireland and how it takes 10 years and 10,000 hours of practice to become a master. I related that to the chiropractic profession and how we must invest tremendous energy and focus to become masters in our field.

While passing through a bookstore at the airport recently, my eyes landed on a new book by Malcolm Gladwell titled Outliers: The Story of Success. The book sounded interesting, so I bought it to read on the plane. I was amazed when Gladwell started giving examples of extremely successful people everyone assumed had become successful overnight. Actually, they had committed to mastering their skills such that they could eventually rise to the top of their professions.

A prime example was the Beatles. They had been together seven years before their famous arrival in America. They spent a lot of time playing in strip clubs in Hamburg, Germany, sometimes for as long as eight hours a night. Gladwell estimated that the band performed 1,200 times before being discovered in 1964. By comparison, most bands don't perform 1,200 times over the course of their entire careers.

The story reminded me of the many Monday and Thursday nights I dedicated to practicing and perfecting my adjusting technique. I treated more patients in those evenings than most practitioners did in a week. When I finally took the platform at Parker to explain what I had mastered, I had already invested a decade of time to get there.

The topics covered in Outliers: The Story of Success are resonating with other people as well. Harvey Mackay, one of my favorite columnists and a fellow Minnesotan, recently wrote about the book. In his column, he mentioned quotes from the book that he felt were particularly compelling, including the following:

  1. "No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent: work transforms talent into genius." - Anna Pavlova, ballerina
  2. "I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen." - Frank Lloyd Wright, architect
  3. "The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed and the work is half done already." - Mark Twain, writer and humorist

Harvey concluded by asking, "Do you detect a theme here?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" Although each of these individuals had unique talents, the formulas for success and mastery were the same for them and for us: hard work and lots of it.


Click here for previous articles by Arlan Fuhr, DC.

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