Saturday, December 20, 2008

10,000 hours, what are you doing with them???

I am reading an interesting book; Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. It poses an interesting question about success. Basically, what are the key elements of success. One thing that is discussed caught my attention. The author proposes that the number for being excellent at an activity is set; 10,000 hours. From hockey to computer programming, he found that people who we consider to be gifted in certain areas have all somehow spent more than 10,000 hours practicing their skill with the intention of improving it.

What is that? 1 1/2 hours a day for 20 years. 3 hours a day for 10 years. 6 hours a day for five years. Or, if you are really dedicated… 12 hours a day for a year and about 4 months. So could you, would you, do it?

It has gotten me thinking. We are all 10,000 hours away from being excellent at something we have an aptitude for. Are we willing to spend those 10,000 hours? Apparently, if you want to be a standout in your area you need to find them. And isn’t that crazy when you think about it?

It makes you think that all things are in our reach, if we only try. I’m not saying that you will be rich or famous if you spend that time… But you will have the potential to be. Maybe that’s why so many good writers have given the seemingly simple advice to fledgling authors, “just write every day”. They already knew the 10,000 hours thing even if they weren’t calling it that.

Kinda makes you think twice about that hour you spend in front of the TV huh? You could have memorized the entire Quran, written your first novel, painted your first work of art, built a piece of furniture, whatever you are good at. I think I will be writing for at least an hour every day myself… What about you???

1 comment:

Paton said...

Great advice for the new year. I'll keep my eye out for that book. Thanks for the post.