What You Can Learn from the Worlds Greatest Youth Violinist

Chad HoopesBill Gates, The Beatles and Chad Hoopes.  Chad Hoopes?  Who is that?   Hang on.

As pointed out in Malcom Gladwell’s latest book, an Outlier is someone who lies outside the norms found in a bell curve.  So Outliers becomes a descriptive term for super achievers.

These super performers,  who so outstrip the rest of the world with skills that dazzle, amaze, and inspire have several things in common.  For example Gladwell introduces the concept of 10,000 hours.  These shooting stars don’t just happen overnight.  They have paid their dues.  By doing some basic calculations Gladwell calculates that before they become “geniuses”, they have already practiced their craft for 10,000 hours.

Which brings us back to Chad Hoopes.

Chad belongs to a family who are great friends.  He is proceeded by two gifted musican sisters, both of whom are gorgeous (with matching long blond hair to boot).  Both sisters are of themselves world class (one is hoping to get into Julliard as I write).  But then there is Chad.

Chad is a diminutive 14 year old with a disarming presence of humility and a warmth that is almost shocking.  It isn’t until you hear him perform, his violin solos accompanied by world class orchestras across the globe – that you come to realize that this “child prodigy” is the real deal.  He walks onto the stage and the audience is taken back by his age, size and presence.  Then the notes flow, like a rainstorm, they soak into the souls of the listener.  His ability to offer beauty, majesty, emotion, and love out of 4 short strings is an experience, that causes you realize that you are hearing history being created.  You think, “I was there when. . . .”.

Last year he won a major world violin competition and was recently dubbed the greatest youth violinist in the world by ABC News.  So when he isn’t in Norway, or Philadelphia, or playing with the Cincinnati Pops, you can find him practicing.

And practice he does!  Four hours a day (it is probably a little higher) – 6 days a week or 1, 248 hours a year.   He started playing at age 3 and 1/2 and listening to his older sisters since he was 6 months old.  That is 13 plus years of listening and practicing.  So in rough calculations that is about 13,000 hours of practicing.  Give or take an hour.  By exceeding the rule of 10,000 hours of practice, and by adding his already divinely gifted talent, you can understand why he is in demand by the great symphony orchestras around the world. All before the age of 15.

Last year he signed up with IMG, the same group that manages Jack Nickolas, John Madden and hundreds of the most visible celebrities in the world.

So what does that have to do with you?

The world you compete in requires results RIGHT NOW!  But I think we need to push back.  Before you expect Chad Hoopes type performances out of yourself, and your organization, you need to understand that there needs to be a lot of practicing first.

To many organizations push the products and services too early.  They don’t perform and then get feedback.  They don’t tune the strings and warm up before they step on the stage.

Doctors “practice” medicine.  Lawyers are the same with their law.

Are you practicing?  Or are you performing?  With the world of instant gratification, there is too much of, “do it now and do it with world class performances.”  The results in the need for Customer Service, which is another way of saying, “we performed at too low of a level and now we need to fix things.”

And, while we are on the subject.  What about those who are still practicing?  Are you pushing your kids, your fellow workers, your organization out there too fast?  Is there enough training and skill development?

I see this all the time.  Too many organizations executing to some plan . . . before they even do the planning.  Just climb the tree and don’t even ask if it the ladder is up against the right tree.

One last question.  If you are going to do something for 10,000 hours, shouldn’t you be passionate about it before you start down that road?

Are you passionate about what you are doing?  That is a lot of steps if it is not going to take you to the land of Outliers.

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