Welcome to Malcolm Gladwell’s America…

Where everyone has to work all the time, where poets and writers should write as much as they can, until they collapse, until their fingers bleed.

This should be obvious to everyone, but I somehow didn’t notice until now that Gladwell’s now-famous 10,000 hour rule is the Calvinist Work Ethic by another name: sure, putting in the time doesn’t guarantee success, but not putting in the time is a sign of moral, and likely practical, failure.

My Grandfather is fond of saying that the optimists always win. I don’t think that’s true, but I agree that everybody who wins is an optimist for reasons that parallel the Anthropic Principle. Still, because everyone who wins is an optimist, it pays to not be a pessimist. And I don’t have to believe in the 10,000 hour rule to decide that it’s better to work hard than to goof off. But accepting the notion that nobody can goof off and be a success seems somehow joyless and, well, Calvinist.