Saturday, November 24, 2012

10,000 hours

Katie and I arrived home from Virginia today after enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving break. On the drive out there and on the way home we listened to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I read it a couple years ago, and we also listened to it last year on our drive out to VA, but we both thought it was pretty interesting and entertaining, so it made the 7 hour trip a little nicer.

One thing he talks about in the book is that in order to become an expert at something, you need to practice a lot. Studies have shown that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to truly master any activity. That is a lot of practice. And it got me thinking: is there something in this world that I want to become a master of? The interesting thing about this study is that it seems that innate talent plays no role in how good you actually become. The more you practice and the harder you try, the better you are at whatever you are trying to do.

How much practice is 10,000 hours? Let's say you do your hobby an hour in the evening every weekday, and three hours on Saturday. That would be 8 hours a week. It would take 1250 weeks, or 24 years to become a master of that hobby.

Or you can practice 40 hours a week, lowering the time required to reach expert level to 250 weeks, or about 5 years.

Maybe I should practice drawing everyday. That way I will a master artist by the time I'm 50. Well, probably sooner than that because I have been drawing for a few years already.

Or I can start something completely new and be an expert at it by the time I'm 50. I just can't think of anything new right now that I want to learn...

What about you? What would you want to be an expert in if given the chance?

1 comment:

Kathy Haynie said...

I would like to become a really expert writer. I feel like I'm about 5,000 hours in. Definitely not all the way there yet.