If there’s one thing about the world you need to know…

If there’s one thing you need to know about the world, it is three things…

I tend to look at the world in a binary way: it’s either black or white. Or shades of gray.

Evolution or creationism? I say… some of both.

 

Dead or alive? Well, you’re one or the other. “Half-dead” is either an expression of bravado or hope, but it’s not a real thing. If you’re dead, you’re dead. No shades of grey there.

Gray or grey? In this case, the shade of grey/gray is black AND white.

And when it comes to life, and what we do with it, should we aspire to broad balance? Or be single-minded in our pursuit of perfection in a specific area?

In “7 Deadly Habits of Highly Successful People,” Stephen Covey argues persuasively and popularly for balance: personal, professional, spiritual, physically, mentally and sharpening the saw.

 

In “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell demonstrates with some empirical evidence the fact that some of the world’s most successful people got there through an intense, even un-balanced, focus on their unique talent, rather than through balance.

Which is right? Is it black or white? Is it shades of gray? Or is it gray/grey; i.e., both are true?

As a parent and as a motivational speaker, it is important to me to figure this out. I want to offer good advice, whether it’s to my kids or my audiences, and I certainly don’t want to set them up for failure by recommending the wrong path.

Motivational speakers are particularly vulnerable on this question. Many will offer a system or approach to their audiences as the “path to success.” “Dream it and you can be it!”

Well, I can dream I’m going to slam dunk a basketball, but…

 

So which is it?.