A few years back I read a book by the author Malcolm Gladwell titled “Outliers” about how successful people reach their goals. This book was chocked full of excellent examples of successful people.
Here are some ideas that stood out.
One – Successful people, while they may be talented, never do it on their own. They get help from others along the way.
Two – The author talks about what is called the 10,000 hour rule. The key to success is to do something for 10,000 hours. (10KHRS) This boils down to 20 hours a week for 10 years. That’s right ten years.
Two of the more famous examples Gladwell highlights, The Beatles and Bill Gates, both allegedly put in more than 10KHRS in their respective fields. Now whether or not they did, or even if this 10K rule is true or not, you certainly have to put in your time to be good at something. Most of us are simply mediocre and not willing to put in the time.
It is point number two that I want to explore a little further. Here is my take on it; by doing something for more than 10KHRS you may become an expert at it, or at the very least really good whether it is sports, art, work etc.
Two questions come to mind, “Does this take into account someone who is endowed with talent to begin with? Or anyone who is willing to dedicate that many hours to something realizing over time the talent and is simply perfecting it by tweaking every nuance and detail to be the best?
Anyone willing to dedicate 10KHRS hours to something is pretty amazing. Stop for a second and think about how much 10,000 hours actually is – 20 hours a week for 10 years, 10 hours a week for 20 years, 5 hours a week for 30.
I sat with this question while writing this blog, “From age eight until twenty, how much time did I dedicate to the two sports, cross country skiing and ski jumping known as nordic-combined?”
I know with cross country skiing I most certainly closed in on 10,000 hours, which explains why it was the stronger of the two sports. As for ski jumping, this is a little more complicated, mainly because an actual jump from the top to the bottom takes less than 10 seconds. Do the math on that and you begin to get an idea how many jumps, crashes included I’d need to do to hit the 10KHRS mark.
(This is NOT me)
I guess I could add non-ski jumping training known as dry land training such as running, weight lifting and other exercises to develop strength and power, but that does go against the 10KHRS rule of actually doing it. Maybe there is another rule, rather than 10KHRS it is 10KX as in 10,000 times jumping. In that case, I didn’t even make it half way.
As I think about my time dedicated to writing, while it was on and off for many years, including numerous research papers as well as the creative endeavors such as the book I am revising and the on-going blogging it is many hours these days. At this point I have been writing almost daily between one and three hours for nearly three years. I’ve got to be close.
This does raise another question, “Does the 10KHRS rule include doing something consistently for years on end or can there be breaks in between?” This is a rule after all. I guess we need to defer to the rule maker who is making sure we adhere to the rule. I haven’t a clue who that might be.
What I do know is that I continue to write adding seconds, minutes and hours as I chip away at that 10K mark. In fact I just added sixty minutes. But the thing is, I am not sure what I’ll do when I get there.