The 10,000 Rule

multitasking vs quick switch
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

Malcom Gladwell came up with this idea that it takes somewhere around 10000 hours of practicing to get good at something. I don’t know how does this sound for you, but it makes me freeze. I did the “math” and 10,000 hours translate into 417 days (24/7) or 1250 days if we work 8 hours per day on that “something” (working every day). This is crazy, but it makes sense. This differentiates between average and great.

This scares me, but it also excites me because this means that someone needs to have a strong motivation to get really good at something. It means that the best things are created with sweat, blood, love and dedication.

Before starting to work on any new idea, I believe the following question would be helpful: Am I willing to work at least 10,000 hours on this? The answer should provide a clue if the idea is really the one for you or if it’s just a temporary thing.

You know what’s interesting? That most of us have jobs and that we will work many hours there. Many more than just 10,000 hours even though we might not like that we do. How come it requires sacrifice to work on our dreams, but it only requires debt and “obligation” to work on something we might often hate?

Okay, don’t listen to me. Listen to the creator of the rule. Maybe he has more sense.

20 thoughts on “The 10,000 Rule

    1. Yes, hopefully… but I’ve noticed the number keeps being reinforced…
      Anyway, in the end, the concept of “practice makes it perfect” needs to be considered more than the number itself.

  1. The way I see it, some of us are lucky enough to fall into something we really like (enough to spend 10000 hours on), but most of us wind up doing something we hate or dislike out of practicality. As the old timers used to say, “them’s the breaks kid.”

  2. Thanks for providing the clip of Maxwell who coined the phrase about 10,000 hours. I was wondering the origin. I appreciate your viewpoint on investing time. I’ve found that I naturally spend long hours on topics I love: Spanish, writing, photography, travel, singing. Even if I change jobs or hobbies I don’t feel my time was wasted because it seems to add a facet to the next I do. Thought provoking post.-Rebecca

    1. Thank you very much for reading and for sharing your thoughts! Positive emotions will always have the power to make time fly by faster than it actually does.

  3. It’s not just 10,000 hours to get good at something, those 10,000 hours have to involve actually developing the skill, pushing yourself, upping the challenge…
    I don’t see that mastering something is necessary to enjoy it, & indeed the reverse, that thought would instantly put me off being able to enjoy something.

  4. Interesting ! Really that’s the difference between average and great.
    The people who have achieved something have all put their whole energy in one thing.

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