Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday?

I just began reading a new book, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I love when you can tell almost immediately that you're going to enjoy an author's voice and his creation. I'm barely into the book, but the initial premise is the old adage that the rich get richer. My college economics professor liked to add "and the poor get pregnant," which unfortunately is terribly accurate. (If you think this is an insult, you're mistaken).

The first example of the rich getting richer is the discovery in the 1980s that elite hockey players in Canada were all born in January, February, and March, with a smattering of outliers thrown in. The greatest number were in fact born in January, followed by February, followed by March and so on through the calendar year. It was discovered that the age cutoff for youth hockey teams in Canada was January 1st. Therefore, a child born on January 2nd could be playing with kids 12 months younger. As a result, the older child would most likely be stronger, more agile, etc. and would be selected for better teams. He would then have more practices, better coaching, more opportunities to grow as a player, etc. and before long you have a self-fulfilling prophecy. While he probably would not have been an elite player against children of equal age, by the time the Canadian hockey system was done with him, he was. The same was found in the NHL and European football teams who had birth date cutoffs. A similar phenomenon is also seen in academics in America. The younger children in a given class typically do worse than the older children, which really should come as a surprise to no one. The older child then has a better chance at advanced classes and so on. The rich get richer.

All this got me thinking about my birth date and what characteristics are associated with it. Whether you believe in this stuff or not is up to you, but I always find it interesting. My birth date is significant to me because I was born on my grandfather's birthday and as a result named after him. It's funny to think that we might have been similar as a result of our shared birth date, because I never really saw it. Granted, he died when I was sixteen, so I'll always view him with a child's eye. I wish (for many reasons) that I had been allowed to keep him longer so that I could have gotten to know him as an adult. It would have been interesting to see if the similarities truly existed...

I found a birth date significance website and since you were all clamoring for the "what career is best for me?" quiz the other day, I've gone ahead and attached it for your amusement, along with my result. Enjoy!

Your Birthdate: May 26

You lucked out the the skills to succeed in almost any arena.

Put you in almost any business or classroom, and you'll rise to the top.

You're driven and intense, but you also know when to kick back and cooperate.

Your ability to adapt to almost any situation is part of what's going to make you a success.

Your strength: Your attention to detail

Your weakness: You can be a little too proud of your successes

Your power color: Turquoise

Your power symbol: Arrow pointing up

Your power month: August

Hi Mrs. Schmidt!


Robert said...

Your Birthdate: December 30
You have the type of personality that people either love or hate (what is Steve Schmidt's birthday?).
You're opinionated, dramatic, intense, and very outspoken (no, really - when is his birthday?).
And some people can't get enough of you - they're totally addicted. Others, well, they wish you were a little more reserved.
Your strength: Your flair ("you can never have to much flair," I always say)
Your weakness: If you think it, you say it (fuck off!)
Your power color: Scarlet red (for Rutgers - my alma mater)
Your power symbol: Inverted triangle (am I gay?)
Your power month: March (to be more precise - March 17th...the 18th - not so much)

Robert said...

I found Steve's birthday (September 28). This whole birthday thing is starting to get just a little bit creepy...Exhibit 1, Steve Schmidt:

You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.

Your strength: Your bold approach to life

Your weakness: You don't accept help

Your power color: Bronze

Your power symbol: Pyramid

Your power month: October (thank goodness he is a little weak in November!)

AJ said...

I'm so glad you found Steve's! I did a cursory search last night because I wanted it to be my the DMoS, but couldn't find it. The birth date thing is creepy, right? LOL.

lupingirl said...

I just saw your blog url on your facebook page today - now that the month is almost over!

That's pretty interesting about the cut-off dates affecting a child's potential performance, but it really makes sense once you think about it.
I looked up my birthdate, but it's so not me - says I'm a technology geek and my strength is my "unfailing logic"! Huh?!