5 Simple Things we Can Learn from Malcolm Gladwell

There’s a lot we can learn from journalist, bestselling author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell. From his forward thinking about what it takes for a product to spread like a mad forest fire in “Tipping Point,” to his analysis of intuition and rapid cognition in “Blink,” Gladwell’s ideas are thought-provoking and revolutionary. Here’s a closer look at 5 of his simple ideas:

Manage Personal Space

“Anyone who has ever scanned the bookshelves of a new girlfriend or boyfriend- or peeked inside his or her medicine cabinet- understands this implicitly; you can learn as much – or more – from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face.” – Malcom Gladwell, Blink

Does your messy desk reflect your organizational skills? Sure it does. What about the posters in your bedroom? They also say a lot about you. Maybe the way your personal space looks doesn’t matter to you, but just know, that also reflects who you are in a big way.

Stress Can be a Good thing

“Extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down. This is how the human body reacts to extreme stress.” Malcom Gladwell, Blink

There’s been a big emphasis on how harmful stress is to your health. The truth is that stress is good in moderation, just like many other things in life. Good stress helps us to mobilize ourselves to think and react quickly when a problem arises. Working under a deadline, playing sports and reacting to a crime or car accident are all times when stress works in your favor.

Hard work doesn’t have to be hard

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig. “Malcolm Gladwell, Outliners

Every single person has things that drive them in life. When you’re not doing those things, work is just that- work. When you’re able to put all your hard work towards something you believe in you’ll become more satisfied and happier. Find that thing and do it, and then do it more and do it better.

Social Change Will Happen in Your Lifetime

At the SHRM 2012 Conference, Gladwell talked about how generations make a shift in the way they see the world every 30-40 years. Because of this shift, structural changes need to be made in the way organizations operate. It’s not that one type of organizational structure is better than another- they all have their strengths and weaknesses. In order to be a leading organization, emphasis must be places on talent retention and increased employee engagement. Another way of being a head of the curve? Be adaptable to change, especially in the digital age.

It matters what you do

“It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us. Being a teacher is meaningful.” Malcom Gladwell, Outlines

It’s been said that, “half of life is just showing up.” This couldn’t be less true. Half of life is working very hard to discover passions, nurture talents, cultivate relationships and make sacrifices so that the other half of life is making the most of out the opportunities you’ve created for yourself. Finding fulfilling work doesn’t just happen, you have to work towards it and fight for it. Because it does matter, and it is worth it.

Have you ever read any of Malcom Gladwells’ books? What ideas of his have inspired you?


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