10,000 Hours

I just finished "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. I'm not sure if you would call Gladwell a sociologist, a statistician, or a strategist, but his books are always fascinating (he also wrote "The Tipping Point," and "Blink"). 

Outliers is subtitled "The Story of Success." In it, Gladwell tries to show why some people are successful, and why some people who have more raw skill, knowledge, or talent are unsuccessful. The book, much like Gladwell's other books, is an explanation; you have to pull your own application.  

Although there are several variables to success, one of the interesting notes Gladwell makes is the "Rule of 10,000 Hours." 

He says it takes 10,000 hours of focused investment to be an expert in something. He isn't aware of anyone, even child prodigies, for whom this is not true. 10,000 hours of investment in something is required before someone is able to truly excel. 

So, if you want to be an expert musician, you need to invest 10,000 hours in your instrument. If you want to be an expert Bible Student, you need to invest 10,000 hours in your Bible Study. If you want to be an expert swimmer, you had better start swimming. 

It's a staggering number, but it's also an attainable number. If you spend a 40 hour work week invested in growing in a specific area, with two weeks of vacation every year, you're looking at a 5 year investment before you can attain "expert" level. 

Most of us aren't able to be that focused. We, either by personality or necessity, tend to focus on a ton of things rather than one or two things. We spread our hours out, which makes 10,000 a difficult number to reach. 

Sure makes you want to reevaluate how you spend your time, doesn't it? 


Robin Davis said...

So that means I'm only about 2 years away from being an expert at Spider Solitaire! ;)

Very interesting concept. Totally makes me want to reevaluate some stuff

Brandon Buie said...

Just bought the book as a gift for a guy but haven't read it yet - thanks for the review, it perked my interest more.