This week I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and also watched 20 Feet From Stardom, which in their own way both tell the same story.
That story is that, no matter how talented you are, there are so many other factors that will determine whether the level of your success.
20 Feet From Stardom is a wonderful documentary about backing singers – specifically those who have quite remarkable voices – but who never quite made it.
The likes of Darlene Love, who Phil Spector cruelly suppressed, and didn’t start a solo career till she was 40.
Merry Clayton is the powerhouse voice that makes Gimme Shelter the outstanding song that it is, while Lisa Fischer won a Grammy for her debut album and whose voice is as good if not better than Whitney or Mariah’s.
Yet the stars never quite aligned for them.
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell goes one step further and explains the cruel tricks of upbringing, time and chance that will do for one genius but not the other.
In fact, while Gladwell’s famous 10,000-hour theory is well founded, it’s clear that there are many other things that play a part.
So if you’re reading this thinking to yourself, ‘I coulda been a contender’, then you’re right… except a series of unavoidable factors meant you were probably never in with a chance in the first place.
Read and watch to understand…