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Tag: malcolm gladwell

10,000 by 3

Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour practice rule? You practice anything for 10,000 hours and you’ll become world class (like a concert violinist or pianist or a professional soccer or cricket player).

The breakup was that if you can practice something for 3 hours a day for 10 years, you’ll easily achieve an unparalleled level of expertise.

For many of us, even taking out 1 hour a day to do something we’d loosely classify as a “hobby” would be extremely difficult.

And if we did get the 1 hour out of an already maddening schedule, then it’d just be better to unwind with Netflix or Prime no?

One way I like to look at this, is to put in the 10,000 hours at our work. Our office job. The day job. Whatever it may be. And guess what, we work 9 hours a day anyway. So that’s 3 times more than the 3 hours per day needed for mastery in 10 years. Which means we could be masters at our work if we spend just 3.3 years!

Instead of spending time by the water cooler, gossiping and talking politics and what not, why not just use every single opportunity to learn, spend the 9 hours in the most efficient manner possible, and become the best-of-the-best in your line of work, whatever it might be? ?

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Doing a 10k

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule.

He says that if anyone can practise 10,000 hours worth of a skill in any field, that person would become an expert. Practise 10,000 hours of coding and you would become one of the best computer programmers in the world. Or 10,000 hours of piano practise and you would be ranked amongst the best pianists in the world. Presumably, 10,000 hours at my job, would make me indispensable, and likely to be very highly paid and sought after.

Assuming a 10-hour-per-day effort, this would translate to about 3 years.

There are several disparaging articles on this – about how the number 10,000 is wrong, and that it should be less (or more), and how deliberate practise is more important, and so on.

Completely agree, and completely disagree with all those. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is to get started, and then plough on, as much as possible.

Also, in our world today, material achievements abound aplenty. But these laurels mostly leave us feeling empty within.

What if we apply the 10,000 hour rule to spirituality and happiness as well? If we practise charity, practise generosity, practise smiling, practise giving, practise meditation, practise empathy and so on, we will only get better at it.

Let us put our 10,000 hours to good use.

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