A few years back I read a book by the author Malcolm Gladwell titled “Outliers” about how successful people reach their goals. Chocked full of excellent examples of successful people and ideas what 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 by doing something for 10,000 hours. (10K) This boils down to 20 hours a week for 10 years. That’s right ten years.
Two of the more famous examples Gladwell highlights, I am sure many of you have heard of The Beatles and Bill Gates, both allegedly putting in more than 10K 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. I would add, dig deep by pushing yourself to the limit, test boundaries and take risks.
It is point number two that I want to explore a little further in today’s post. Here is my take on it, by doing something for more than 10k hours 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 realizes over time the talent and is simply perfecting it by tweaking every nuance and detail to be the best?
Either way, anyone willing to dedicate 10k hours to something, whether it be a sport or creative endeavor 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 have been sitting with this question all day, (I started this blog this morning and back to it tonight) “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 10k mark.
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 10k rule of actually doing it.
Then I started thinking the time dedicated to writing. I have been writing on and off for many years. Included in the hours are the numerous research papers as well as the creative endeavors such as the book I have written and currently revising and the on-going blogging.
It’s got to be somewhere close. Maybe? This does raise another question, “Does the 10k 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 someone who is making sure that 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 chipping away at the 10k hours. In fact I just spend sixty minutes on this.
Am I there yet?