Who to Watch at Chicago Ideas Week 2012: Dan McLaughlin


There's a lot to wrap your mind around with the approaching Chicago Ideas Week, the weeklong invasion of super-smart and super-influential folks taking place at venues all over town from Oct. 8 to 14.

We're helping with a series of speaker profiles designed to highlight the speakers who will benefit you, the sexy Chicago entrepreneur. There are just over 100-plus speakers announced so far, and more to come.

In this profile: Dan McLaughlin.

Accolades: Well, he quit his day job to become a PGA golfer at the age of 30 and had never golfed when he made the decision. So. That isn’t exactly an accolade per se, but it is a mark of the man’s character.

Why you should care: Not to be confused with the sports broadcaster of the same name, McLaughlin might be considered crazy or impractical, but he’s pursuing his dreams, which is more than you can say for most office drones. Dan has started The Dan Plan [http://thedanplan.com/theplan.php], which he blogs extensively about, and is essentially putting Outliers into action. Since April 2010, he has been attempting to log 10,000 hours of deliberate practice at the sport -- the mythical number of hours explored in that super-popular pseudo-intellectual Malcolm Gladwell book that had the audacity to imply people who practice things a lot eventually develop sharp skills for them. Whodathunk!

But seriously, McLaughlin will be able to speak to the unflinching commitment to his goals that he’s displayed in learning to master a sport where you whack a tiny ball with a long club. Is he as fiercely confident as you are in your business? Maybe or maybe not. I’m betting on not. So listen, learn to what he has to say and practice.

When you can see him: Oct. 10, Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Read more here.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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